Cross-sector collaboration has been a crucial element of planning and implementing large-scale obesity prevention-related policies and programs in the United States, including Safe Routes to School (SRTS), which promotes walking and bicycling through physical infrastructure changes and programmatic efforts. Minnesota provides a unique opportunity to evaluate a collaborative partnership that successfully implemented and institutionalized one of the first state-funded SRTS initiatives in the country and included close collaboration between transportation and health officials and advocates at both the state and local levels. This theoretically informed mixed methods case study identified and described the roles of both central and peripheral members of a collaborative SRTS partnership in Minnesota. Qualitative analyses of 18 stakeholder interviews identified key aspects of success, including passionate and skilled individuals with a common objective, structures that facilitated work across partnership functions and geographies, strong interpersonal and inter-organizational relationships, capacity for implementation and advocacy, and information and knowledge sharing. Findings indicate that contributors to partnership success may differ across multiple geographic levels and partnership functions. Contextual factors external to the partnership are also likely to affect whether partnerships achieve their goals.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Minnesota provides a unique opportunity to evaluate a partnership that successfully implemented and institutionalized SRTS in policy and to increase understanding of collaborative processes that may operate at different levels of partnership functioning. Implementation success was defined as the obligation of federal SRTS funding by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to local schools and communities for engineering (infrastructure) projects and non-infrastructure programming; institutionalization success was defined as the creation of a state SRTS program operated by MnDOT, created and funded by the state legislature. Fig. 1 demonstrates the timing of program creation, partnership formation, and outcome measures.
This work was supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [Grant no. 5R01HD070738-03 ]; and the University of Minnesota Division of Epidemiology and Community Health J.B. Hawley Student Research Award .
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- Physical activity
- Safe Routes to School