Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Andrew Coburn PhD

Second Advisor

Mary Lindsey Smith PhD, MSW

Third Advisor

Deb Deatrick MPH


CHNA, collaborations, health improvement planning, assessment


The Maine Shared Community Health Needs Assessment (Maine Shared CHNA) has created a mature network of local collaborations that come together every three years to conduct a statewide needs assessment. This capstone looks into whether there have been successful partnerships that continue collaborating on health improvement planning and implementation post CHNA. Key questions included, “Where there were successful collaborations, what was it that made them successful? What are the challenges to forming and maintaining a collaboration and how have groups overcome those challenges?” A comparative case study approach was used in order to compare and contrast two sites, each demonstrating different levels of joint action as defined by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Case study #1 demonstrated collaboration based on the number or organizations cross referenced in their work plans. Case study #2 did not demonstrate organizational cross references. Interview subjects were chosen based on whether they still work at their respective organizations, and whether their organizations were cross referenced (or not) in other health improvement plans within a county.

Findings show common themes among successful collaborations include institutional leadership support, presence of a convening organization, social cohesion and trust among partners, perseverance, and a shared vision, mission, and strategic plan. These elements appeared to mitigate against the complicated, and sometimes controversial, role funding can play in collaborative partnerships. Findings also show these elements can help institutional leaders justify dedicating resources due to the clarity and transparency these elements provide. Finally, these elements can provide guidance to collaborations in bolstering and sustaining their efforts through inconsistent funding cycles.

In order to move into a planning collaboration the Maine Shared CHNA may wish to consider further empowering local teams, developing change management plan, incentivize partners, foster local innovation, and revise the Charter and Memorandum of Understanding.

Included in

Public Health Commons



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