Purpose And Challenges Of Coalitions And Partnerships

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Purpose and Rationale of the Study

Coalitions and partnerships are a popular strategy for engaging stakeholders from a wide array of community sectors to address complex social and health issues (Mizarahi & Rosenthal, 2001). In public health, it is argued that coalitions are often better positioned than individuals, organizations, or sectors to influence broader systems-level change required to realize and maintain health improvements within a community (Butterfoss, 2007; Minkler & Wallerstein, 1999; Siegal, Siegal, & Bonnie, 2009). Previous studies by a group of authors have explored the successes and challenges of collaborative groups in promoting active living in their communities. For example, Litt and colleagues (2013) found that
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309). Previous studies on coalitions predominantly evaluate the impact and outcomes of community health coalitions (Berkowitz, 2001; Hays et al., 2000; Feinberg, Greenberg, & Osgood, 2004; Zakocs & Edwards, 2006), but relatively little attention has been given to the processes of coalition formation itself. To better understand the development and functioning of community coalitions, it is important to explore the coalition building processes that could be used to promote social and health change. This descriptive qualitative case study examined the dynamics of how coalition building works (or not) using participant’s perceptions of coalition formation. Descriptive case studies are useful in describing an intervention or phenomenon and the real-life context in which it occurred (Marshall & Rossman, 2006; Yin, 2009). Live Well Omaha Kids (LWOK) is a partnership that has formed to influence public policy and the built environment around the issue of healthy weight in children in Douglas County, Nebraska. The purpose of this case study was to describe coalition building of the LWOK partnership during its formation stage, specifically examining how core coalitions members perceive collaboration as a way to solve a complex health problem. A qualitative approach is needed in the study of coalition formation due to the circumstances of complexity in the nature of coalition formation and this phenomena is deeply rooted within the participants’ knowledge
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