Comparative Effectiveness of Public Health Partnerships and Interorganizational Relationships

Year: 2012
Funding: Jr Investigator Award
Status: Completed


Partnerships are an integral component of the public health infrastructure; an increasingly common method of service delivery; and an essential public health service unto themselves. Public heath partnerships can be between two people or an extensive group of individuals representing multiple organizations across all three sectors working towards improving health outcomes. The prevalence and importance of partnerships in public health practice is extensive; however there is little research that measures their performance and investigates how their social structure impacts their effectiveness. Responding to this gap and to the revised PHSSR Research Agenda, this study will explore the comparative effectiveness of public health partnerships and interorganizational relationships, specifically asking how different partnership and network characteristics affect performance. In a mixed method, cross case research design, this study will use PARTNER (Program to Analyze, Record, and Track Networks to Enhance Relationships), a tool funded by Robert Wood Johnson [], to measure the characteristics and attributes of interorganizational relationships within six county-based public health partnerships. The relational and network measures of the six partnerships will be examined through social network analysis (SNA), and analyzed with performance measures based on stakeholder interviews, ratings of perceived effectiveness by collaborative members, and data from the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) []. The study findings will provide new empirical evidence about how different partnership and network characteristics affect performance, adding to a much needed knowledge base to guide the use, formation and management of partnerships in the quest for improving health outcomes in America.


Robyn Mobbs, M.B.A.


Danielle Varda, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Public Affairs
University of Colorado Denver

Research Areas