Public Health Research Team Completes National Study of Health Partnerships

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 6, 2015) — A multi-disciplinary team of researchers based at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health has completed a national study of successful partnerships between hospitals, public health departments and other stakeholders.

The study, which was funded by a coalition including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Grant Thornton and Hospira, sought to identify highly successful partnerships, examine those relationships, and ascertain key lessons learned from their collective experiences. The study was directed by Lawrence Prybil, Ph.D, Norton Professor in Health Leadership at the UK College of Public Health, with support from co-investigator Douglas Scutchfield, MD, the Peter P. Bosomworth Professor of Health Services Research and Policy College of Public Health and Medicine. 

The four-step assessment began with 157 nominations, from which 12 operational partnerships were identified as showing evidence of high success. These partnerships were studied through two-day site visits, individual and group interviews, and extensive document review.  The study team examined the partnerships’ missions and goals, organization and management models, performance metrics, sources of support, and challenges faced. 

The findings of this review provided the basis for 11 recommendations that are intended to assist hospital, public health department, and other community leaders and policy makers in developing strong, multi-sector partnership devoted to improving community health.

“There is growing awareness that restraining growth in health expenditures and improving the health status of communities and society at-large will require a broader approach that addresses the full array of factors affecting health status," said Prybil. “This study looked at successful collaborations between public health, health care organizations and other community resources to identify those features that can assist other communities in improving their community’s health.”

Team members included Rex Killian, Ann Kelly, Glen Mays, Angela Carman, Samuel Levey, Anne McGeorge and David W. Fardo.  The full report is available at

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