Using a Collective Impact Framework to Implement Evidence-Based Strategies for Improving Maternal and Child Health Outcomes
In 2016, the North Carolina Division of Public Health launched the Improving Community Outcomes for Maternal and Child Health program to invest in evidence-based programs to address three aims: improve birth outcomes, reduce infant mortality, and improve health outcomes for children 0 to 5 years old. Five grantees representing 14 counties were awarded 2 years of funding to implement one evidence-based strategy per aim using a collective impact framework, the principles of implementation science, and a health equity approach. Local health departments served as the backbone organization and provided ongoing support to grantees and helped them form community action teams (CATs) comprising implementation team members, community experts, and relevant stakeholders who met regularly. Focus groups with each grantee’s CAT were held during 2017 and 2019 to explore how CATs used a collective impact framework to implement their chosen evidence-based strategies. Results show that grantees made the most progress engaging diverse sectors in implementing a common agenda, continuous communication, and mutually reinforcing activities. Overall, grantees struggled with a shared measurement system but found that a formal tool to assess equity helped use data to drive decision making and program adaptations. Grantees faced logistical challenges holding regular CAT meetings and sustaining community expert engagement. Overtime, CATs cultivated community partnerships and multicounty collaboratives viewed cross-county knowledge sharing as an asset. Future collective impact initiatives should allow grantees more time upfront to form their CAT to plan for sustained community engagement before implementing programs and to incorporate a tool to center equity in their work.
Schaffer, K., Cilenti, D., Urlaub, D. M., Magee, E. P., Owens Shuler, T., Henderson, C., & Tucker, C. (2021). Using a Collective Impact Framework to Implement Evidence-Based Strategies for Improving Maternal and Child Health Outcomes. Health Promot Pract, 1524839921998806. doi:10.1177/1524839921998806