The Building Wellness Project

A Case History of Partnership, Power Sharing, and Compromise

Published in: Ethnicity and Disease, v. 16, no. 1, suppl. 1, Winter 2006, p. S1-54-S1-66

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2005

by Drew Jones, Charla Franklin, Brittany Butler, Pluscedia Williams, Kenneth B. Wells, Michael A. Rodriguez

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INTRODUCTION: The Institute of Medicine has recommended development of community focused strategies to alleviate the disproportionate burden of illness on minorities, including depression. So far, limited data exist on the process of developing such partnerships within diverse racial/ethnic environments as they strive to develop community-driven, evidence-based action plans to improve the quality of outreach services. The authors describe such an effort around depression in south Los Angeles and explore the issues of the process in the hopes of informing future partnership development. METHODS: Community meetings, presentations, feedback, discussion groups, and consensus-based action items were implemented over an 18-month period. A writing subcommittee was designated to develop a description of the group's work and process, as well as the diverse perspectives in the partnership. Data sources included meeting minutes, materials for members and community feedback presentations, scribe notes, and the reflections of the authors. RESULTS: Development was seen on the formal group level, in the process, and on the realization of three categories of action plans. Designed to assist social service caseworkers in the recognition of and referral for depression, the action plans included developing a website, a tool kit (modified Delphi process), and a one-page depression fact sheet with region-specific referrals. CONCLUSION: Through the process of developing a means to combat depression in a racially/ ethnically diverse population, the community is not only better informed about depression but has become a true partner with the academic element in adapting these programs for local service providers, resulting in improved understanding of the partnership process.

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