Assessing the readiness of rural public health agencies for facilitating a school-based intervention

Online Publication Date:
March 8, 2022
Publication Status:
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**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 17.1. All rights reserved.** ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Partnerships are best positioned for success when the readiness of those engaged is assessed and discussed from the outset. Doing so requires an approach to readiness that is responsive to the particular context of the partnership. OBJECTIVES: This study contributes to the topic of partnership readiness through a readiness assessment used with rural local public health agencies (LPHAs) to partner with a university research team on implementing a K-12 school-based health intervention called AIM. METHODS: Through case study methodology, we explored the readiness of LPHAs to partner with a university on this initiative as well as the role the readiness assessment played in facilitating this partnership. We conducted semi-structured interviews with directors and agency staff in 5 rural LPHAs before (N=8) and after (N=5) they implemented AIM. We also documented their work with K-12 schools and in partnership with us throughout the initiative. RESULTS: The findings of this study are presented in three phases. Phase 1 outlines the results from the initial readiness assessment interviews as aligned with select constructs of readiness. Phase 2 recounts how these constructs materialized through partnership between LPHAs and the university. Phase 3 includes findings from a post-intervention interview focused on readiness for partnership. Collectively, these findings portray prospective, operational, and retrospective perspectives on LPHA readiness for partnership. CONCLUSIONS: This study contributes to the constructs of readiness for partnership, highlights the distinction between assessing and cultivating readiness, and demonstrates the benefits of a multiphase approach to readiness for partnership.