Governance and Management Structures for Community Partnerships: Experiences from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Community Partnerships for Older Adults Program

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Aged, Community Participation, Health Services for the Aged, Humans, Long-Term Care, United States, Cutler Institute, Population Health and Health Policy, USM Aging Initiative, Health and Wellness

Publication Title

The Gerontologist


PURPOSE: This article describes early efforts of four community partnerships in Boston, El Paso, Houston, and Milwaukee to address governance and management structures in ways that promote the sustainability of innovative community-based long-term care system improvements. The four communities are grantees of the Community Partnerships for Older Adults Program, a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that fosters local partnerships to improve long-term care and supportive-services systems in order to meet the current and future needs of older adults.

DESIGN AND METHODS: We examined community partnership approaches to governance and management, as well as evidence of the partnerships' influence in their communities, by using the conceptual framework of the community health partnerships typology developed by Shannon M. Mitchell and Stephen Shortell.

RESULTS: Addressing governance and management issues was critical to the early evolution of community partnerships for older adults. Early partnership experiences, particularly with regard to local funders and media, provide evidence of emerging centrality (importance and influence in the community), which forecasts sustainability. Observation over a longer period is needed in order to see whether early successes will be sustained, particularly once original grant funding ends.

IMPLICATIONS: Community partnerships for older adults can become influential positive forces but must invest in adequate governance and management structures early on.

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