At the request of the Executive Committee of the Partnership, the Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) at UMass Medical School evaluated the Partnership's strengths and opportunities for improvement in meeting its mission and objectives from the perspective of the Executive Committee members, Partners, and potential Partners. CHPR conducted this evaluation from June to December 2009 using qualitative methods that included a focus group with participants of the June 2009 Annual Meeting and interviews with Executive Committee members, Partners, and potential Partners.
Below is a summary of CHPR's findings and the Partnership's responses. For more detailed information about this evaluation and its findings click here: Partntership Evaluation Executive Summary
- Partners view the Partnership's mission to change physical environments, public policies, and healthcare systems to reduce risk for heart disease and stroke as valuable and in alignment with their organizations' mission.
- The Partnership has strong leadership and an established infrastructure including its Executive Committee and levels of Partners, and has sustained itself over a relatively long period compared with similar partnerships and coalitions in the state.
- Partners rate the Partnership's objectives (see below) as valuable with some objectives more highly valued than others, such as advocating for policy and systems changes, connecting the work of organizations, and facilitating the sharing of best and promisingn practices.
- Partners receive important benefits from their membership including gaining new ideas for programs from other Partners, receiving new materials and resources to use in their organizations, and strengthening their organizations' connections with state leaders.
- A diverse array of Partner organizations attend the Partnership's two annual events to obtain current evidence-based information on addressing heart disease and stroke and to network and learn promising practices from others.
- Partnership materials and resources, especially the FAST campaign, have raised public awareness about preventing and identifying symptoms of heart disease and stroke.
Opportunities for Improvement
- Increase the frequency and volume of information communicated to Partners regarding all aspects of the Partnership's identity, mission, and activities and accomplishments.
Response: The Partnership has created a periodic newsletter, Partnership Pulse. Each issue lists upcoming events, timely data and surveillance information, and pertinent educational resources. It also highlights a current policy, systems, and environmental initiative and spotlights a Partner's best practice. Helpful links are included. Partnership Pulse is distributed by email directly to our full database and is posted on our website (see Home dropdown menu). Everyone is welcome to suggest items for the Partnership Pulse: email us at
In lieu of the annual educational conference in January, the Partnership is instituting Learning Forums. Each forum will focus on a specific topic and will be a short series of meetings, such as five conference calls. Proceedings of each forum will be distributed by email and posted on the Partnership's website. One goal of the forums is to create focused, perhaps regional, networks of professionals who continue to share best practices and communicate for problem solving and sharing resources. For example, one of the goals of the first forum, Your School Wellness Policy: The Next Step, is to create an interactive online educational forum. The forum conference calls will be on the school wellness topics of nutrition, physical activity, grant writing, and using the interactive online educatinal forum.
In addition, the Partnership's website will be reorganized and enhanced for easier use and to give access to more information and resources.
- Clarify its identity to both current and potential Partners in areas such as its scope of focus (i.e., on prevention, responding rapidly, and improving healthcare systems), its association with the Department of Public Health, and its prioritization of objectives.
Response: The Executive Committee is revising its documents to clarify the Partnership's scope, objectives, and collaborative relationships with other organizations. These statements will be posted on the Partnership's website and distributed at the next Annual Meeting on June 1, 2012.
- Strengthen its focus on providing Partners benefits that add value to their work and the work of their organizations. Partners have increasing demands on their time, so participating in Partnership activities must be explicitly beneficial to justify involvement.
Response: The Executive Committee is doing strategic planning to increase value for all participating organizations. No longer a membership organization, the Partnership welcomes submission of works-in-progress, accomplishments, and best practices from all pertinent agencies and organizations. That information is shared in our newsletter, on our website, and at our annual meetings each June. The Initiatives page of the Partnership's website is a way for agencies and organizations to publish their work and also to find out who is doing similar work. It is designed to share best practices and increase communications among Partners (i.e., all participating agencies and organizations).
- Connecting the work of local providers and organizations to reduce duplication and identify gaps.
- Facilitating the sharing of best and promising practices.
- Improving access to education and aspects of heart disease and stroke.
- Advocating for positive policy and systems change.
- Synthsizing and disseminating relevant information.
- Working to eliminate health disparities.
- Identifying and connecting local, state, and national resources