collaboration, faith-based organizations, local health departments, partnership



  1. Zahner, Susan J. DrPH, RN
  2. Corrado, Susan M. BS, RN


Collaboration between public health and faith communities is encouraged by national and state policies. The study in this article examined the prevalence, characteristics, and effectiveness of partnerships between faith-based organizations and local health departments in Wisconsin. Data were collected from local health departments using a 2-stage, cross-sectional survey. A subset analysis of partnerships that included faith-based organizations was conducted using descriptive, bivariate, and 2-level logit regression methods, with partnerships nested in health departments. Twenty-four percent of local health department partnerships included faith-based organizations (n = 224). Community assessment was the most commonly reported partnership focus. Partnerships that included faith-based organizations were more likely to include many partners and have few partners contributing financially. Partnerships that include faith-based organizations are no more likely to be effective than those that do not. Predictors of local health department/faith-based organizations effectiveness included having a budget and longer time in existence. Local health departments engage faith-based organizations in partnership strategies when addressing issues that require broad community attention. Partnership effectiveness is enhanced by existence of a budget and sufficient time for development.