Statement of purpose Safe Communities America is a grass roots coalition building initiative in 24 communities serving over 6 million Americans. The goal is to reduce intentional and unintentional injuries by creating partnerships between diverse sectors and offering evidence-based injury prevention interventions to address local needs. The current study examines coalition building factors and indicators of effectiveness, based on the Community Coalition Action Theory, to explore how to increase the impact of Safe Community coalitions in ultimately decreasing injury rates in their communities.
Methods/approach Coalition member surveys measured 4 indicators of effectiveness (member satisfaction, participation, synergy and community capacity), as well as coalition building factors (leadership, administration, available resources and communication). A content analysis of coalition meeting notes determined the number of community changes produced, an indicator of effectiveness. Pearson correlations tested associations between factors and indicators as well as correlations between different levels of indicators.
Results Surveys were completed by 192 coalition members from 23 coalitions while 229 meeting notes were submitted by 16 coalitions yielding 109 examples of community changes. Results showed numerous statistically significant correlations between factors and indicators. Results also showed community capacity, a long-term indicator, being associated with other indicators of effectiveness.
Conclusions Results suggest specific coalition building factors are associated with more changes in the community and an increase in the capacity of the community to address injuries and larger social issues. Practical implications to increase coalition effectiveness to prevent injuries are suggested for practitioners.
Significance and contributions Using the largest sample of injury prevention coalitions, these results provide additional evidence for the Community Coalition Action Theory and demonstrate correlations between constructs of the theory that have not been previously tested. Few studies have demonstrated associations between coalition building factors and long-term effectiveness, such as community capacity, to address injuries at a local level.
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