Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

Program Development Guide

Building Community Partnerships

Chapter Navigation

1. Organizational Readiness

2. Assessing Community Needs, Strengths and Resources

3. Assessing Community Readiness for Innovative Strategies

4. Building Community Partnerships


Building Community Partnerships

There are several reasons why strong clinic-community partnerships are vital to the success of chronic disease interventions. First, engaging community organizations helps health care providers reach individuals where they are. People may be more comfortable meeting peer supporters in community settings, such religious spaces, restaurants, parks, and community centers; therefore, getting these organizations on board will reduce some barriers to program participation. Similarly, it is important for community organizations implementing peer support programs to provide linkages to clinical care for participants. Building clinic-community partnerships may facilitate this aim.

Since people with chronic diseases spend the vast majority of their time managing their conditions on their own, community support is important to surround them with positive influences that promote healthy behaviors. Organizing safe walking routes, developing healthy menu options at local restaurants, and hosting chronic disease awareness events are a few examples of the types of community actions that can help people with chronic diseases.

Second, building community partnerships creates new opportunities to build awareness of and improve access to primary health care services. Referrals between the clinic and community organizations can go both ways; community groups can direct individuals to participate in peer support programs, and community groups can make referrals to providers for both health care services and clinic-based peer support groups.

The Tools for Building Clinic-Community Partnerships to Support Chronic Disease Control and Prevention includes three evaluation checklists that are intended for use by partnerships interested in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their partnership. They can be used sequentially according to the phase of the partnership and periodically assess changes. The checklists are designed to help partnerships track the progression of their work, facilitate discussion among partners, and identify areas for improvement. These checklists also may be used in the planning stages of a new partnership or initiative, or as a tool to orient new partners to the work of a partnership.


  1. Partnership Attributes Checklist. The purpose of this checklist is to informally evaluate the partnership’s function and structure. It is important to note that partnerships are diverse. They may be formal or informal, large or small, or include different types of partners (community, clinical, academic, etc.). The checklist will help determine the partners’ perceptions about the presence and adequacy of characteristics such as leadership, decision making power, and resources. Respondents are asked to indicate: 1) to what extent they agree with the statements on the checklist, and 2) how satisfied they are with the structure and function of the partnership.
  2. Organizational Capacity Checklist. This checklist is divided into two sections. Your Organization’s Capacity asks partners to assess how their individual organization’s abilities have changed as a result of participating in the partnership. Capacity between Partner Organizations asks respondents about the impact of the partnership on capacity across organizations. Respondents are asked to indicate the extent to which they agree with the statements on the checklist.
  3. Intermediate Outcomes Checklist. This checklist evaluates what has happened as a result of the partnership. The checklist acknowledges that change can occur on multiple levels. It is divided into four sections: individual, organizational, partnership, and community.

– The individual level addresses outcomes for the clients or patients that the partnership organizations serve.
– The organizational level focuses on outcomes for each organizational partner that resulted from working together.
– The partnership level deals with how the partnership has changed over time.
– The community level addresses how the partnership’s work has affected the larger community around the health issue of concern.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Diabetes Initiative’s Tools for Building Clinic-Community Partnerships These are helpful resources organized around a framework for supporting chronic disease control and prevention.
VicHealth Partnerships Analysis Tool This resource is for organizations entering into or working in a partnership to assess, monitor and maximize its ongoing effectiveness.
Human Resources Development Canada’s The Partnership Handbook This toolkit describes what community-based partnerships are and offers suggestions about how to be effective. It provides tools and tips to enhance partnerships and outlines what is needed to move forward together.
Prevention Institute’s Eight Step Guide to Developing Effective Coalitions This step-by-step guide to coalition building helps partnerships launch and stabilize successfully. It supports advocates and practitioners in every aspect of the process.
WHO’s A Pocket Guide to Building Partnerships This short guide uses the analogy of farming to visualize the concept of building partnerships.
Partnership for the Public’s Health's Bending the Ivory Tower: Communities Health Departments and Academia This brief provides a look at how partnerships can address today’s complex health and social problems.
The World Bank’s Public-private partnerships for health: a review of the best practices in the health sector This review is a guide to best practices for PPPs in the health sector. It examines the underlying philosophy of PPPs as well as their costs, benefits, impacts, governance, management, and implementation strategies.
Building Multi-sectoral Partnerships for Population Health and Health Equity This article offers recommendations for strengthening collaborative partnerships for population health and health equity.
Community-Based Partnerships for Improving Chronic Disease Management This article argues for a social ecological approach to chronic disease management based on an Expanded Chronic Care Model.
AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange Building Relationships Between Clinical Practices and the Community to Improve Care Tools and profiles to help develop, strengthen, and sustain relationships among primary care, the community, and public health organizations.


© 2021 | Peers for Progress

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