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Building a Successful Community Coalition–University Partnership at the Arizona–Sonora Border


Purpose: The purpose of the case study is to explore a successful community–university partnership through community-based participatory action and to examine the partnership’s ability to make policy changes toward improving health behaviors.

Background: Diabetes mortality at the U.S.–Mexico Border is twice the national average. Poor health care access is also a concern. These factors prompted Douglas community members to form a community coalition and invite university participation.

Historical Overview: Douglas coalition members and University of Arizona (UA) partners worked together to improve chronic disease prevention and control in Douglas, Arizona, by engaging programmatic and policy activities and working with the local schools and government.

Coalition/Partnership Effectiveness, Strengths, and Weaknesses: Data were collected from multiple sources, including key informant interviews, the Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory, and annual evaluations to document effectiveness, strengths, and weaknesses.

Conclusion: A successful community coalition–university partnership is the result of long-term collaboration, equal participation, and acknowledgement that policy work takes time. The Douglas partnership, through policy, has effected local health behavior changes.

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