Successful academic-public health practice collaboration: WhatWorks from the public health workforce's perspective

Jeffrey McCullough

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Scopus citations


    Context: Public health departments and academic institutions engage in a range of cooperative activities that can greatly benefit a public health department and can often be mutually beneficial. Yet, little is known regarding practitioners' views of successful academic collaborations. Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore predictors and correlates of beneficial academic collaboration from the perspective of those on the front lines\-The practitioners constituting the public health workforce. Design: Analysis of the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS), a cross-sectional survey of state health department practitioners, conducted in 2014. Participants: PH WINS is a nationally representative survey of state health department practitioners. Data were available for a total of 8718 respondents in 37 states. Main Outcome Measures: Two main outcome measures were used\-(a) whether a respondent reported collaborating with an academic entity (including faculty/staff/students) in the past year, and (b) when collaboration did occur, the success of the collaboration insofar as the respondent perceived the engagement as very helpful. Results: Health department practitioners (27.2%) reported participating in an academic-practice collaboration. Factors associated with partnering included respondents' supervisory status, positional duties, and public health background. Of these respondents, 46.6% reported a successful collaboration. Factors associated with a successful collaboration included respondents' self-reported job skills and public health background. Conclusion: While characteristics related to a public health practitioner's position are most significant in predicting whether a collaboration will occur, characteristics of the individual him- or herself are more relevant in predicting whether a collaboration will be successful. Public health managers interested in fostering an environment that promotes a successful academic-practice collaboration may benefit from ensuring that the public health practitioners involved in such collaborations are themselves trained in public health.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)S121-S129
    JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
    StatePublished - 2015


    • Academic partnerships
    • Academic-public health practice collaboration
    • Public health workforce
    • State health department

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Health Policy


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