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An investigation into the partnership process of community-based health promotion for men

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Pages 108-120
Published online: 22 Mar 2013

Working in partnership offers service providers an opportunity to support one another and to maximise their collective resources. Effective partnerships underpin effective interventions whereby the efforts of the whole group outweigh the sum of the efforts of individual partners. Partnership work is essential in the area of community-based health promotion for men; vulnerable men are a particularly challenging group to engage and sustain in community health promotion interventions, and traditionally sparse resources have been targeted at this cohort. Using qualitative research techniques, this study examined how one men's community health promotion partnership operated over a 15-month period. Findings demonstrate that consensus among the partners with respect to the purpose of the partnership was essential. The positive group dynamic was based upon an informed and democratic decision-making process, the use of planning (Reach Effectiveness Adoption Implementation Maintenance – REAIM) and implementation tools (operational plan), ongoing evaluation of practice as well as the adoption of a ‘hands on approach’ to the work. Group membership was carefully considered; consultation with the target group was ongoing and it was agreed that training was required before men could participate at the partnership meetings. The specific challenges faced by the partnership were the lack of resources available for men's health work and the difficulty of initially engaging and then sustaining men's engagement with their health. The findings from this study may be adopted as guidelines to support others working in partnership in this challenging area.

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