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Health Care Coalitions:  Poor Links to the Community

Health Care Coalitions: Poor Links to the Community

When we are building something great and building something that will accomplish great things, sometimes there will still be barriers deterring your progress.  When all the structures, policies, and procedures are in place, you have built a strong foundation within your coalition, and you are still struggling with reaching your community, you may need to focus on reaching/strengthening relationships with people and agencies in your community outside the coalition.  Having a Poor Link to the Community could divert your ultimate goals and lead you back to working on the "buy-in" barrier.  Do you have to start over?  No, not really, but you may need to take a step back and re-evaluate your strategies to determine how to reach your community best.

Back in January, I wrote an article on gaining buy-in from coalition members, the main points are below (Read Coalition Building; Looking at Barriers One by One: Gaining Buy-in here.):

  • Be as inclusive and participatory as you can.
  • Get to the "root!"
  • Know your stuff.
  • Use other key coalition members to talk to other potential members to gain their buy-in.
  • Always highlight the benefits and reiterate why you're doing this....to work as one cohesive unit to support your jurisdiction(s) in planning, response, and mitigation efforts in a potential disaster or emergency.

I have highlighted a few points from the previous article because these tips will also work for your community.  Ultimately, what you're doing is providing your community with clear communication about what your coalition is working on and how you are going to achieve your goal.  You are trying to dig deep and reach the heart of your community to get them on board with your ideas and plans. 

"The team exists to accomplish a result.  The community exists to support its members while they fulfill their purpose....When partnerships, management teams, and organizations build communities, they tap into a greater and deeper reservoir of courage, wisdom, and productivity.”

--Peter Gibbs

Taking what's been written above and applying it to your community, will gain buy-in from the community as a whole.  This will be a longer process because your target is larger, but all in all, the result is worth it.

  • Always highlight the benefits and reiterate why you're doing this...to work as one cohesive unit to support their jurisdiction(s) in planning, response, and mitigation efforts in a potential disaster or emergency.  This is very important!  Your community will need to know that you're out there trying to prepare and respond to an emergency.  Highlight how EVERYONE will need to work together as a team and support the team effort for response and recovery.
  • Share the coalition's vision and mission statements, planning, and major decisions in a press release or press conference.  Write an editorial and/or send out newsletters.  Don't forget your social media outlets as well!  Set up presentation booths, if possible, so that you can educate your community.
  • Get to the "root!"  Find out why they are so resistant to your coalition's objectives, and try to work on easing or clarifying the concerns the community may have.  Ask yourself, is it a lack of education?  Is the community really unaware of what you're about?  Do they think you're going to be making unwanted policy changes?  Find out the real reason why there is a resistance to the coalition's motives.
  • Know your stuff.  Develop your message and know what you’re talking about.  Be ready to provide statistics and any other data to support your initiative.  Be accurate and concrete.  Establish talking points for each one of the coalition members, so that everyone is sharing the same message.
  • Use other key coalition members to talk to other potential members to gain the buy-in.  Sometimes, it is easier to identify the hold-up through someone they already know.  Sometimes, it is just one person that can change the entire view of the community.  Find out who your stakeholders in the community are and get to know them.

The final result of your efforts is that you are relationship building, providing a clear line of communication and education to your coalition members, partners, and community.  When you are building a coalition, gaining buy-in, finding leaders, and reaching your community, you are putting all the pieces together to work together as a team.  You are connecting to people and talking to them in a language that they understand.  It is what we do as professionals, and if we don't do this already, we need to learn NOW, before the day that a disaster strikes.  Working as one, as a team that can respond effectively for a better, smoother recovery.  Stay tuned next month for information and tips on turf issues and past experiences.


Resources:

*University of Kansas, Community Tool Box

*See Original Article - Coalition Building; Looking at Barriers One by One:  Gaining Buy-In.

Other bParati Coalition Building Articles:

*2014 Goal:  Coalition Building

*Coalition Building:  Getting Started

*Coalition Building; Looking at Barriers One by One:  Failure of Structure and/or Leadership
 

Tsoetsy Harris, MPH, MEP

Tsoetsy Harris, MPH, MEP


Independent Consultant

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In all we do, we seek to reduce human suffering and loss of life caused by disasters.

We get it done by connecting the preparedness efforts of healthcare organizations, emergency management agencies, and public health departments through effective, financially self-sustaining healthcare coalitions.

Yes, we believe healthcare coalitions are the path forward.

Karl Schmitt, Passionate Founder & CEO, bParati

Karl SchmittPassionate Founder & CEO

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