A Brief Report on a Facilitated Approach to Connect Cooperative Extension Southern Region State-Level Health Specialists
Improving the nation’s health will require collaboration among many stakeholders and systems, including representatives from Cooperative Extension Services (CES). This paper describes the process of establishing a multistate collaboration and discusses initial outcomes of a third-party facilitated participatory planning meeting. State-level specialists with expertise and responsibilities in “health” promotion participated. Satisfaction with meeting format; feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of the proposed approach to public health impact; and general meeting feedback were collected through a survey and cultural artifacts (e.g., notes, worksheets). Preparation and attendance costs were captured. Seventeen of the 20 attendees (85%) responded to the survey and reported the process was satisfactory and the proposed plan for moving forward was feasible, acceptable, and appropriate. The meeting cost was $1,011 per attendee. The process mobilized a multistate Extension collaborative to promote health but revealed potential cost-benefit challenges. Leveraging resources is necessary to plan, implement, and measure collaborative public health efforts. Future data on outcomes will show if the process leads to intended objectives. If successful, this approach can be replicated across CES for stronger impacts.
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