Technical Assistance as a Prevention Capacity-Building Tool

A Demonstration Using the Getting to Outcomes Framework

Published In: Health Education and Behavior, v. 36, no. 5, Oct. 2009, p. 810-828

Posted on RAND.org on October 01, 2009

by Sarah B. Hunter, Matthew Chinman, Patricia A. Ebener, Pamela Imm, Abraham Wandersman, Gery W. Ryan

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Demands on community-based prevention programs for performance accountability and positive outcomes are ever increasing in the face of constrained resources. Relatively little is known about how technical assistance (TA) should be structured to benefit community-based organizations and to lead to better outcomes. In this study, data from multiple sources were used to describe an effective TA model designed to improve the capacity of community-based organizations to plan, implement, and evaluate prevention programming. This article is the first of its kind to provide detailed analyses of the TA delivered to community-based organizations to build substance abuse prevention capacity. The results of this study describe the range of TA services provided and the importance of two-way communication between the TA provider and recipient. TA recipients reported high satisfaction and an improved understanding of targeted TA activities. However, achieving these benefits requires significant program staff time, and not all skills were successfully transferred. Results from this study suggest how TA may be structured to be effective in supporting quality prevention programming in community settings.

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