Developing and Sustaining Community—Academic Partnerships: Lessons From Downstate New York Healthy Start

Cheryl Merzel, Gail Burrus, Jean Davis, Ngozi Moses, Sharon Rumley, Dionna Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Partnering with communities is a critical aspect of contemporary health promotion. Linkages between universities and communities are particularly significant, given the prominence of academic institutions in channeling grants. This article describes the collaboration between a school of public health and several community-based organizations on a maternal and infant health grant project. The partnership serves as a model for ways in which a university and community organizations can interrelate and interact. Central lessons include the significance of sharing values and goals, the benefit of drawing on the different strengths of each partner, the gap created by the university's institutional focus on research rather than service and advocacy, and the strains created by power inequities and distribution of funds. A key element of the partnership's success is the emphasis on capacity building and colearning. The project demonstrates the potential of employing community—academic partnerships as a valuable mechanism for implementing community-based health promotion programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-383
Number of pages9
JournalHealth promotion practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • community collaboration
  • community-capacity development
  • community— academic partnership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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