Addressing unmet mental health and substance abuse needs: A partnered planning effort between grassroots community agencies, faith-based organizations, service providers, and academic institutions

Santa Monica, CA 90407, USA.
Ethnicity & disease (Impact Factor: 1). 06/2011; 21(3 Suppl 1):S1-107-13.
Source: PubMed


To conduct a process evaluation of the Restoration Center Los Angeles, a community-academic partnered planning effort aimed at holistically addressing the unmet mental health and substance abuse needs of the Los Angeles African American community.
Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions on key domains of partnership effectiveness were conducted with a random stratified sample of participants varying by level of involvement.
Eleven partners representing grassroots community agencies, faith-based organizations, service providers, and academic institutions.
Common themes identified by an evaluation consultant and partners relating to partnership effectiveness, perceived benefits and costs, and future expectations.
Findings underscore the importance of considering the potential issues that may arise with the increasing diversity of partners and perspectives. Many of the challenges and facilitating factors that arise within academic-community partnerships were similarly experienced between the diverse set of community partners. Challenges that affected partnership development between community-to-community partners included differences in expectations regarding the final goal of the project, trust-building, and the distribution of funds. Despite such challenges, partners were able to jointly develop a final set of recommendations for the creation of restoration centers, which was viewed as a major accomplishment.
Limited guidance exists on how to navigate differences that arise between community members who have shared identities on some dimensions (eg, African American ethnicity, Los Angeles residence) but divergent identities on other dimensions (eg, formal church affiliation). With increasing diversity of community representation, careful attention needs to be dedicated to not only the development of academic-community partnerships but also community-community partnerships.

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