Aligning research and practice: The role of academic-community partnerships for improving measurement and process

Jessica A.R. Williams, Jarron M. Saint Onge, Tami Gurley-Calvez, Rebecca Anderson, Jane Mosley, Joanna Veazey Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: Community programs addressing social determinants of health are growing in prominence and are increasingly expected to provide metrics of success. Our objective is to assess the role of an academic-community partnership for a community health worker program targeting social and medical needs, and determine factors impacting its effectiveness. Methods: We draw on a 4.5-year partnership that includes both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. Quantitative data collection mechanisms evolved as a result of the partnership. Qualitative interviews were conducted with community health workers and leadership. Results: To align medical and social support services in a sustainable and measurable manner, our academic-community partnership found that creating and maintaining a mutually beneficial space through small wins enabled us to then address larger problems and needs. Ongoing self-study and process evaluation allowed quick adjustments. Unique partnership elements such as having consistent funding and flexible timelines and objectives were essential. Conclusions: When integrating health and social services, academic-community partnerships create pathways for bidirectional learning than can quickly turn research into practice and support sustainability, especially when based on incrementally built trust and a history of small wins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101990
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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