Unit 7 Section 7.4: Weathering the Change Process

Partnerships evolve and change over time. The policies, procedures, and infrastructure that is developed at the beginning of a partnership may need also need to change to reflect the partnership’s lessons learned, changing focus, new partners, etc. Periodic review and discussion of partnership principles and policies or the purpose and expectations of the partnership ensures consistency and checks the relevancy of a partnership. Sometimes the partnership is still relevant, but the goals and objectives of the partnership are not. Other times, this process of reviewing your relationship can help you determine if and when the partnership has run its course.

There are a number of activities that can be done to address how changes in the membership of a partnership may create a need for change.  These include:

  • Using internal evaluation processes to assess status of membership composition

  • Working with the evolution of the membership to create a stronger partnership

  • Developing criteria for new members that address gaps and build on strengths

  • Anticipate changes in dynamics (“shared history” of older members vs. perspectives of “newcomers”)

Below are examples of how two partnerships successfully weathered the change process:

Example 7.4.1: The Partnership Lifecycle

The Broome Team was the first structure in Michigan organized in response to the call for proposals from the WK Kellogg Foundation Community-Based Public Health Initiative.  The Kellogg funding ended after five years, but the Broome Team continued to meet without funding.  During this time, Community-Based Organization Partners (CBOP), an alliance of our community-based organization partners, was organized. We continued to meet for almost two years with no funding until we applied to become a Prevention Research Center to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  At this point, we invited the Greater Flint Health Coalition to our partnership recognizing a weakness in our previous model which did not include representation from health care providers, employers, unions, and policymakers. Thus we became the Prevention Research Center Community Board, but the Broome Team continues to meet quarterly and has taken on a more philosophic role. For example, when the PRC Community Board identified that members were using multiple definitions of “community” and that this was creating conflict in our discussions, the job of proposing a definition was delegated to the Broome Team.

Excerpted from Flint PRC proposal

 

Exercise 7.4.2: Weathering Change – Reaction and Prioritization Scenario

You are the chair of a community and academic partnership (CAP) in a major city. After five years of building a shared vision, establishing the structure, and managing a stream of steady national funding to engage in health promotion and disease prevention activities for your identified community, you have been informed that your CBPR partnership funding has been cut. You, the researchers, and the partnership members had anticipated a reduction in funds, but were not prepared for a full cut. Six months from now, the CAP will not have financial support.

You will have your monthly CAP meeting next week.  Given your precarious funding status, what are your immediate priorities? During the time you have for this activity, fill in the boxes in the chart below with 1-3 short term and 1-3 long term goals for each concern.  This exercise will help you figure out what to do at the next meeting.  First, to establish short term goals, and second, to establish the groundwork for goals over the long term.

 

 

Concern

 

Short-Term/Meeting Goals

 

Long-Term/Next 6 months

 

Future funding

 

 

 

Morale/
membership

 

 

 

Current and future projects

 

 

 

Setting/ place of meetings

 

 

 

Community relations

 

 

 

Examples of Short and Long-Term Goals

 

Concern

 

Short-Term/Meeting Goals

 

Long-Term/Next 6 months

 

Future funding

 

  1. Convene a sub-committee
  2. Meet with PI (or fiscal conduit) to ensure staff support

 

  1. Advocate with current funder for more $
  2. Start searches for smaller, doable initiatives that build on current projects

 

Morale/
membership

 

  1. Address morale up front
  2. Encourage attendance
  3. Organize members to advocate for more funding

 

  1. Revisit structure of CAP (i.e., mission/bylaws/membership)
  2. Revisit identity and community presence

 

Current and future projects

 

  1. Secure staff support
  2. Assess/inventory projects
  3. Secure board commitment to projects

 

  1. Prioritize what is doable/desirable (consider how a project can best be packaged for a possible "end" product)

 

Setting/place of meetings

 

  1. Enlist commitment on part of host

 

  1. Continue to enlist commitment on part of host

 

Community relations

 

  1. Share statement/ announcement via community meetings and academic networks

 

  1. Present the news; inform public of current status

 

Exercise 7.4.3: Weathering Change Temporary Funding Scenario

You are the chair of a community and academic partnership (CAP) in a major city. After five years of building a shared vision, establishing the structure, and managing a stream of steady national funding, the partnership approached the end of a funding cycle with little prospect of maintaining a relationship with the funder. Since the news about the cessation of funding, board members have questioned why funding for the partnership was not renewed and why the success of their CBPR approach appeared to be unrewarded. Further investigation into future initiatives of the funder did not seek innovative partnerships to improve health disparities, nor did they encourage a social justice approach.

The board became proactive in voicing their discontent with the future initiative of the funder. They challenged the funder’s mission and focal audience at a CAP meeting during a funder site visit, which occurred after the announcement of no funding. CAP members also initiated a letter writing campaign to the funder’s central office.

Questions for discussion:

1. What might the CAP Chair do address the fiscal relationship with the funder?

2.What can the CAP Chair do to maintain operation of the CAP, possibly with little or no financial backing?

3. What might the CAP Chair suggest to obtain further funding?

 

Exercise 7.4.4: Weathering Change Loss of Funding Scenario

You are the chair of a community and academic partnership (CAP) in a major city. After five years of building a shared vision, establishing the structure, and managing a stream of steady national funding, the partnership has completely dissolved.

The partnership is at a turning point. You have already led the partnership unsuccessfully in lobbying for additional support from the federal funder and have weathered through a short period of time with temporary funding. There is no funding to support core activities and you no longer have a community liaison or protected time of Investigators and Project Managers to support the partnership's research activities. A decision on whether or not to continue to exist needs to be made. 

You will have your monthly CAP meeting next week. How do you present the question to the CAP of whether or not your partnership should continue? How do you propose what the next action step should be for the CAP? How do you enroll/engage members in that next action step(s)?

Within your group, discuss and fill in some examples of the vision and strategy for each of the areas of concern listed in the chart below.

 

Area of Concern

Vision

Strategy

 

Identity

 

 

 

 

 

Mission, bylaws, principles

 

 

 

 

 

Function of CAP

 

 

 

Examples of Visions and Strategies

Area of Concern

Vision

Strategy

 

Identity

 

Sustain morale; encourage active participation by revisiting Mission/Bylaws/Principles

 

Enhance and diversify membership; publicize community relations; establish new identity/disseminate new name and purpose to collaborators

 

Mission, bylaws, principles

 

Sustain community relations and dissemination

 

Establish ad hoc committee to redefine purpose and structure

 

Function of CAP

 

 

Identify different levels of involvement with partners to serve as

  • Advisors
  • Partners
  • Conduit/Resources

 

Intervention work group and subcommittee formation for current and future projects