As one of many organizations within a system of networks, numerous U.S. local health departments (LHDs) use partnerships as a structural intervention to address physical, mental, social concerns of women and infants.
[Photo: Dr. Gulzar Shah]
Drs. Barnes and Shah administered an eighteen-item online survey to 93 LHDs between March and June 2014. Descriptive and Pearson Chi-Square analyses were conducted using SPSS 23.0. The state level study examined current levels of maternal and child partnerships among Indiana LHDs and sectors in the public health system. Geography and organizational readiness (infant mortality listed as a goal in the strategic plan) were used as proxy measures to examine how likely LHDs work with these sectors.
The researchers concluded that LHDs reported having more formal (coordinating, cooperating, collaborating) partnerships with hospitals, the state health department, and physician practices/medical groups. LHDs less frequently reported partnerships with transportation, midwives, and parks and recreation. Furthermore, LHDs in non-metropolitan LHDs were more likely to have both informal and formal partnerships with non-public health sectors than LHDs in metropolitan jurisdictions. LHDs that did not have infant mortality as a goal in their strategic plan were more likely to have informal partnerships with health care, health insurance, and quasi-governmental organizations.
Dr. Priscilla A. Barnes, Indiana University-Bloomington was the lead author. Dr. Laura T. Haderxhanaj, Indiana University-Bloomington, and Dr. Gulzar Shah, Associate Dean of Research at Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Healthwere co-authors.