Abstract P006: A Comparative Case Study of the American Heart Association ANCHOR Partnerships Program
Purpose: In 2014, the American Heart Association (AHA) started a new initiative called the Accelerating National Community Health Outcomes through Reinforcing (ANCHOR) Partnerships Program. The ANCHOR Program works to improve cardiovascular health using population-based strategies targeting policy, systems and environmental (PSE) level changes. From March 2015-April 2016, the ANCHOR program supported 15 markets within AHA Affiliates as they implemented community-based interventions using PSE strategies to increase access to healthy food and beverages, physical activity, and smoke-free environments. This community-based approach is relatively new for the organization therefore, a comparative case study was conducted to understanding how the ANCHOR Program worked within the AHA and its Affiliates, as well as what community-based strategies were most successful.
Methods: Using a systematic selection procedure that assessed level of readiness, the 15 sites were categorized as either “implementation ready (IR)” or “capacity building (CB)”. After stratifying the sites by intervention focus three markets from each category (n=6) were selected as the units of analysis. Evaluators conducted site visits in each market from February-April 2016. During site visits, a total of 24 interviews were conducted with Affiliate staff, program managers, implementation partners, and community partners. Each interview assessed expected outcomes, planning processes, community support, and success. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and synthesized using a thematic analysis.
Results: Significant differences were found in expected outcomes. IR sites wanted to increase community engagement, while CB focused on policy change. Both sites were supported by their Affiliates and partners. Action plans were developed by program managers with Affiliate input, and were used to plan in both sites. IR sites identified barriers at the beginning of planning, while CB sites made revisions frequently as barriers were encountered. Both sites engaged partners in planning. Program managers at IR sites worked closely with partners on implementation, whereas those at CB sites led implementation and partners provided support and connections. Differences were also found in how sites engaged partners. CB sites built broad community engagement and IR sites focused on implementation partner buy-in. Overall, the IR sites felt most successful, while CB sites laid groundwork but were not able to create tangible outcomes.
Discussion: This comparative case study provides important information about how the AHA can embed community-based work within their ongoing efforts using existing Affiliate structures. The multiple viewpoints captured provides insight into implementation processes and how this type of work is best accomplished, as well as how level of readiness can impact progress.
Author Disclosures: W.R. Garney: None. K. Garcia: None. K. McLeroy: None. L. King Hahn:None. V. Taffe: None.
This research has received full or partial funding support from the American Heart Association, National Center.
- © 2017 by American Heart Association, Inc.