Appendix E
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Examples of State Collaboration

Table of Contents • Introduction • What Do I Need to Get Started? •  Falls Free© Logic Model  • Standard Set of Survey Questions • Next Steps • Appendix 

Collaboration with an Academic Institution

A relationship between a university-based academic department and a state fall coalition can be mutually beneficial.  Both benefit from evaluation expertise of the faculty member(s) with aligned research interests. Researchers may also see the possibility of authoring a publication as a benefit of partnership. Students can be a great asset to tap but consider students, if involved, require mentoring and oversight. Potential evaluation experts may be found through your Geriatric Education Centers, the American Public Health Association, Special Interest Groups, or the CDC-sponsored Healthy Aging Research Network.

The New York Older Adult Fall Prevention Workgroup (the Workgroup) is coordinated by the New York State Department of Health – Injury Prevention Program. The Workgroup utilized internal data / surveillance resources in addition to partnering with an academic institution, the University at Albany School of Public Health, to develop evaluation capacity.  Dr. Mary Gallant collaborates with the Injury Prevention Program on a variety of projects, was a founding member of the Workgroup. She co-chairs the Workgroup’s Data and Evaluation Subcommittee with an Injury Prevention Program staff member. The evaluation expertise provided through this academic partnership is provided in-kind as community / professional service. Dr. Gallant is responsible for developing an overall evaluation plan for the Workgroup.  She is involved in designing and conducting surveys of Workgroup members, analyzing evaluation data, and will be assisting in the development and implementation of evaluation activities to measure the impact of Workgroup activities among stakeholders across the state. The Injury Prevention Program staff also track and monitor falls data, including: fall-related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits. These outcomes will be used to illustrate long-term impact of the coalition in meeting its goals of reducing falls and fall-related injuries and deaths. 

Direction of the Texas Falls Prevention Coalition (TFPC) is currently transitioning from the Texas Area Agency on Aging Association to the Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Rural Public Health (TAMHSC SRPH). Dr. Marcia Ory will be overseeing the dissemination of fall prevention programs throughout Texas. Statewide efforts have been supported in part by Humana, who donated $100,000 to continue TFPC’s work with A Matter of Balance/Volunteer Lay Leader model and introduce additional fall prevention programs. All evaluation forms collected from participants are submitted to the TAMHSC SRPH. For the fiscal year of 2009-2010, Texas delivered 161 Matter of Balance classes, which reached 1,947 participants. The evaluation team received 1,751 pre-assessment forms and 1,254 post-assessment forms to review and analyze. Over 80% of the participants completed the program.

Collaboration with State Health Department epidemiologists

Each state varies as to whether or not the State Health Departments epidemiology units respond to data requests. We recommend the State Fall Prevention Coalitions leads contact their State Health Department epidemiological staff and ask about assistance.
Every state health department has epidemiological staff, some of whom may be members of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE).  Some states have the luxury of a dedicated injury epidemiologist, while other states may need to think more creatively on identifying an epidemiologist that specializes in a topic related to falls prevention or has conducted previous research in related topics; such as, traumatic brain injury, chronic disease, and/or environmental health.  Even if the epidemiological staff does not understand the injury burden, they will understand the data available and may be willing to assist in analyzing data for the burden of falls and fall injuries. Working with these epidemiological staff to understand the fall injuries issues will assist them in understanding how best to analyze existing data.

The Pennsylvania State Fall Prevention Coalition offers an example of how to effectively collaborate with the State Health Department and its epidemiology staff to support state coalition efforts. In Pennsylvania, while the Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) has a full-time statistical analyst to conduct basic data analysis, the VIPP does not have funding to support an epidemiologist.  Fortunately, the VIPP has engaged the epidemiologist responsible for studying traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), who also has a personal interest in injury prevention.  The VIPP has identified funding to support some of his training opportunities and has supported applications for CSTE fellowships focused on injury prevention.  Our in-kind epidemiologist is able to utilize our analyzed data to support his work in traumatic brain injury surveillance and has also prepared reports regarding TBIs among older adults due to falls.

Collaboration with State Associations or Research Networks

Consider other collaborators with interest and evaluation expertise of state associations such as state hospital associations. Other collaborators include research networks on related or aligned topics. New Hampshire has been successful in working with the children’s safety network.  

The New Hampshire Falls Risk Reduction Task Force (the Task Force) has been in existence since 1999. Because of its long history, the Task Force thought it was time to facilitate a process evaluation on key measures such as governance and meeting structure. The Task Force reached out to the Children's Safety Network (CSN) who provided technical assistance on a wide range of injury issues. CSN staff expertise is in evaluation, and in this particular case, process evaluations of topic specific coalitions. Over a year the Task Force worked with Dr. Ronda Zakocs, Boston University and acting consultant to CSN, on a process of evaluation and questionnaires to measure Task Force functioning. Two online surveys were designed, one for general membership and one for Task Force members who both attended meetings frequently and participated in resulting activities. The surveys contained questions on Task Force membership, leadership, governance, the mission, group processes, administration, resources, technical assistance, strategic planning, and continuous quality improvement. Results of the survey were tallied with the help of Dr. Zakocs, who discussed implications and potential initiatives to address concerns at several Task Force meetings.

 

 

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