A presentation from Wilson Majee, Ph.D, MPH, from the University of Missouri, suggests a model for community health & wellness that seeks to bridge the poverty gap by making resources at a university available to those within the community.
Collective Impact at Work : A Preliminary Assessment of a Midwestern University-Community Health Promotion Partnership
1. Collective Impact at work: A preliminary assessment of a
Midwestern university-community health promotion
Wilson Majee, PhD, MPH
University of Missouri, USA
2. Introduction - the issues.
o In 2011, in the United States alone, 46.2 million Americans (15%)
lived in poverty, up from 31.6 million (11.3%) in 2000 (DeNavas-
Walt, Proctor, & Lee, 2012).
o Between 2009 and 2011,
• the poverty rate increased for:
• Blacks (from 25.8% to 27.6%),
• Hispanics (from 25.3% to 26.5%),
• Children under age 18 (from 20.7% to 21.9%) and for people aged 18
to 64 (from 12.9% to 13.7%)
o That 1 in 5 children in the richest nation in the world should live in
poverty is a moral failing.
3. Introduction - the issues.
o The poor, and those with less education, mostly people of
color, continue to be disproportionately affected by
disease and unemployment.
o Only 12% of the U.S. population is African American, yet
they account for 46% of people living with HIV disease in
o Adult obesity rates for Blacks topped 30% in 42 states
and the District of Columbia, 30% for Latinos in 23 states,
compared to 30% for Whites in only four states.
4. Introduction – potential strategy.
o Need for better approaches to improve the health and
well-being of communities
o University Community Partnerships
5. Introduction – University Plan
Reach out to a community to improve the
health where people work, live and go
Engage UMHS in innovative community
Utilize MU &UMHS’s unique resources
Multidisciplinary faculty and
Tiger Institute for Health
Missouri Telehealth Network
Assess and leverage community
6. Introduction – the community
Memphis is a rural community of about 21, 500 people (United States Census Bureau 2013)
For the period 2008-2012, the median household income for Memphis was $32,354 while those
for the county and state were $38,543 and $47,333 respectively.
High percentage of low-paying manufacturing jobs: 18.5% for the county, compared to 8.2%
for the state.
Poor education attainment levels: only 15.9% persons aged 25+ had a college degree or
higher in the county, compared to 25.8% for the state and 28.5% for the nation.
County and State population living below the poverty level was 17.2% and 15% respectively
(United States Census Bureau 2013).
City hosts the state fairgrounds, a community college, a regional hospital, a chamber of
commerce, several corporations (Tyson Foods, Walmart etc.), and two national highways, YET has
had difficulties attracting external funding for social services.
8. Research questions
o The study’s goal was to examine:
o a) conditions and factors that influence the effectiveness of
o b) how the factors interact with each other to challenge
unhealthy living conditions, and
o c) ways to best tap the potential of university-community
9. Collective Impact Framework
o Commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a
common agenda for solving a specific social problem” (Edmondson et al.
2012 p. 11).
o Rather than viewing collaborations as loose affiliations of programs and
services addressing similar issues, yet operating in silos, Collective Impact
advocates for a “more rigorous and focused approach of coordinating
these disparate efforts” (Hanleybrown et al. 2012).
o Instead of working in isolation, community members embrace a collective
approach to, define, measure, and improve their health and well-being.
10. Collective Impact Framework
The Five Conditions of Collective Impact
Common Agenda: All participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the
problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.
Shared Measurement: Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts
remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable.
Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a
mutually reinforcing plan of action.
Continuous Communication: Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust,
assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.
Backbone Support: Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization(s) with staff and a
specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations and
Stanford Innovation Center (Hanleybrown et al. 2012)
11. Data Collection
o Interviews and focus groups - purposive sampling
o One focus group with 10 breastfeeding mothers
o In-depth Interviews: 35
o 8 with community partnership members
o 7 with MU HC partnership members
o 8 with breastfeeding mothers (follow-up)
o 7 with health care providers (nurses, and pediatricians)
o 5 with employers (focusing on workplace lactation friendliness)
12. Data Analysis
o Interviews were transcribed by a consultant
o 3 researchers were involved
o Coding began by labeling concepts within field notes, and interview
o Themes were based on the five key conditions of the collective impact
o participatory agenda formulation
o shared outcome measurement
o participation in mutually reinforcing activities
o continuous communication, and
o backbone support.
13. Findings – Conditions and Factors
Readiness as community capacity - most community partners felt that the local leadership
development program prepped them for collective initiatives:
It (the leadership development program) provides an opportunity to learn a lot more about the
businesses, about the community, the history of Memphis – the entrenched beliefs and patterns
that even though Memphis has evolved, some have persisted. Going to Tyson’s, which is a large
employer and a critical asset to the community and learning about and seeing the processing of
food, really allowed me to understand better the challenges that go on for people who work in
those industries and people who manage those industries. And I think it’s critical to understand
that when you’re talking about wanting to change a mindset to talk about wellness, to talk
about improving health, you have to keep that manufacturing business perspective in mind. So I
think the leadership class really does a good job of introducing people to all the different
components of Memphis, which gives you a picture of how this community works (Adams,
August 25, 2013).
14. Findings – Conditions and Factors
Readiness as community capacity - several 8 of the 15 partnership members felt that the
pre-existing relationship facilitated the development of trust:
Because I have always had kind of an insider role because I had that prior
relationship with the Memphis team, they would sometimes tell me of their
concerns and fears, saying I could relay that back to the University team….so
trust kept developing more and more and that allowed (for) a more honest
conversation (Johnson, September 18, 2013).
15. Findings – Conditions and Factors
Community Participation and Engagement – all 15 research participants expressed the
importance of committed participation and shared responsibility:
We’ve taken it very seriously and we have met, and we have monthly meetings.
I view my role as the leader of a health system and it’s, we’re not just a hospital
anymore. I really have no credentials to either be an expert in weight loss
management or behavioral modification. I am a leader and I think it’s
important and my contribution is to say “Hey, do we need resources?” I show
my public support by, when we have our annual health summit; I and other
leaders are the face of that (Bailey, November 14, 2013).
16. Findings – Conditions and Factors
Sharing of skills and resources
There are experts at the University that have the knowledge and the skillset to help the BRHWPT
really map out a long range plan for success and make an impactful difference in our community in
terms of health and wellness. It’s that kind of brain capital that is really helpful to have (Hooper,
October 20, 2013)
“It’s the resources of the University, the expertise of the University, and the nimbleness of a
community that I think makes a good partnership” (Westwood, October 30, 2013).
“While we know how to do evaluation, research, how to get resources….on the Memphis side, a lot of
those folks do know how to roll out programs, how to get funding, how to be creative and how to
organize around an issue. For example, (they) already got people that are listened to and sought
after in their community… so we have their ear and they listen to us” (Nelson, October 4, 2013).
17. Findings – the outcome
What’s happening now in Memphis is there is an expanded conversation about what health
means and the impact of making that a priority in your community, both from a social
perspective and economic perspective, as well as, health and education perspectives.
People are talking about breastfeeding. Nobody was talking about breastfeeding two
years ago, three years ago. People talk about Healthy U all the time. People are very
engaged in that. People are talking about tobacco. People are talking about teenage
pregnancy and risky behaviors in young people. You know, when I came to this community
there wasn’t any conversation going on about any of that (Smith, August 19, 2013).
18. Findings – the outcome
What we don’t know sometimes is how to approach it (health issue), and a great
example is Clean Air Memphis. The need for the smoking ordinance was quite
obvious but we didn’t know how to approach it. We didn’t know how to work
with elected officials. We didn’t have the statistics, the data. University partners
were critical. You know, they came down and helped us do the air quality
monitoring and with the strategies. All those outside folks were there to help, to
cheerlead, but it still had to be us. It had to be the local people who spoke
(Adams, August 25, 2013).
19. Findings – the hurdles
Paralysis by analysis
I think there’s always a challenge between the world of academia and the world of a
community….very large institutions don’t move fast. It takes a while for them to, to move things
through all their channels. In a community, particularly a small community, if we want to change
something you get a much smaller group of people together and you start making a change
(Westwood, October 30, 2013).
I do not have enough time to go there (Memphis) as much as I should…I would really love to see
sort of a mirror image of how we organize ourselves here at the university planted in our
community so they have a community investigator, a community project director, and so on…we
maybe would connect better that way (Nelson, October 4, 2013).
20. Conclusion – Back to Collective Impact
Conditions Partnership status University Role
Common Agenda: common
Partnership members met and developed a shared vision
understanding of problem and joint
for the partnership.
approach to solving it.
Provides ongoing expertise with visioning and
strategic planning. Organizes and coordinates
regular partnership meetings.
Shared Measurement: consistent
data collection and results
measurement across participants.
Community-partners work with university experts to
collect data and assess impact of each of the five issue-focused
Assists the partnership with “trend analysis” and
development of instruments to collect data around
specific health issues, e.g. breastfeeding, air-quality
Mutually Reinforcing Activities:
Differentiated but coordinated
Partnership has five issue task forces (breastfeeding,
clean air, healthy living, adolescent health, and medical
home) in which participants play different but
University professionals assigned to each of the 5
coalitions in the community to ensure that members
stay motivated and coordinate their activities with
the other coalitions.
Consistent and open
Partnership members hold regular quarterly meetings
while issue-focused planning teams meet bi-weekly.
Ensures that communication is continuous through
having representatives in the coalitions, who
support coalition efforts and make progress
reports to the partnership on a regular basis.
Backbone Support: Separate
organization(s) with staff and a
specific set of skills.
Partnership has no separate organization. It utilizes the
diverse yet specific skill sets among partners.
Provides a pool of professionals with diverse
training to consult with the coalitions. Also provides
funding for partnership activities.