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Year : 2001  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 163-172

Promoting Collaborations that Improve Health

Center for the Advancement of Collaborative Strategies in Health, New York Academy of Medicine, USA

Correspondence Address:
Roz D Lasker
Center for the Advancement of Collaborative Strategies in Health, New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue, Room 452, New York, NY 10029-5293
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

There is growing interest and investment in health-related collaboration in the United States. In an environment characterized by increasingly complex health problems, substantial resource constraints, and a fragmented health system, public and private organizations as well as communities are recognizing that most objectives related to health and health care cannot be achieved by any single person or organization working alone. Partnerships that bring together diverse people and organizations have the potential for developing new and creative ways of dealing with today's turbulent environment. Despite its potential advantages, collaboration also presents daunting challenges. Further, documenting the effectiveness of partnerships in improving health and well-being has been difficult. Given the significant difficulties of collaboration and the lack of evidence of its effectiveness, questioning whether the investment in health partnerships is justified seems reasonable. In this paper we address this question by illustrating the connective power of collaboration. We describe how collaboration, by connecting individual-level services, broadening community involvement in population based health strategies, and linking individual-level services and population-based strategies, can improve the health of communities. We then discuss activities that could assist partnerships in reaching their collaborative potential and conclude by presenting the most compelling reasons for pursuing collaboration.

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