These steps provide a rough guide to building a collaboration for supporting healthy eating and active living in your community.1 You may want to print this page for future reference.
- Identify a core group of 3-5 partners who
- Consider childhood obesity prevention a priority, embrace the idea of working on it collaboratively, and are prepared to dedicate resources (time and money) to it.
- Represent a microcosm of the community and are leaders and bridge-builders within the community. Include community members who are directly impacted by the prevalence of obesity, e.g., parents, as well as agency representatives.
- Represent, to the extent possible, people who have had a positive working relationship with you and with others in the group.
- Have the ability to address resistance to their ideas constructively and to work through conflicts creatively.
- Develop the mission, goals, and initial plan. Ask yourselves, What can we do together that we can't do alone? What can we build on that is already happening?
- Identify and invite other potential partners to join the group. Ultimately you should include representatives from all relevant stakeholder groups. Invite more people than you need because some will decline, and you want appropriate and diverse groups represented. An ideal group size is about 12 to 15 members, although this depends on the size of your community and your initial plans. Identify the roles and responsibilities of each member.
- Assess related behaviors and factors, and develop objectives
- Expand the collaboration to include any community members needed to achieve objectives
- Select appropriate intervention methods and strategies drawing on the knowledge, ideas, and experiences of all stakeholders
- Develop an evaluation plan to measure both intermediate outcomes of the collaborative process and the overall objectives of your plan
- Communicate frequently and openly with all members of the group
- Commit the resources of time and money necessary to achieve the objectives of the plan
- Continually assess progress toward meeting your immediate outcomes and long-range objectives
- Adjust the collaboration process and action plan appropriately
- Remember to celebrate successes!
For more information and resources, go to Tools for You and More Info for this course at the Cornell NutritionWorks website, www.nutritionworks.cornell.edu.
1 Gillespie AH, Gantner LA, Craig S, Dischner K, Lansing D. Productive partnerships for food: Principles and strategies. Journal of Extension. 2003:41(2).