An Innovative Network Approach to Coordinating a National Effort to Improve Cardiovascular Health: The Case of Million Hearts
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An Innovative Network Approach to Coordinating a National Effort to Improve Cardiovascular Health: The Case of Million Hearts

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  • Alternative Title:
    J Public Health Manag Pract
  • Personal Author:
  • Description:

    To assess the structure, content, quality, and quantity of partnerships that developed in response to a national cardiovascular health initiative, Million Hearts.


    This study used a social network analysis (SNA) approach to assess the Million Hearts initiative network partnerships and identify potential implications for policy and practice.


    The Million Hearts network comprised a core group of federal and private sector partners that participate in Million Hearts activities and align with initiative priorities. To bound the network for the SNA, we used a list of 58 organizations (74% response rate) from a previously completed qualitative analysis of Million Hearts partnerships.

    Main Outcome Measures:

    We used the online PARTNER (Program to Analyze Record and Track Networks to Enhance Relationships— survey to collect data on individual organizational characteristics and relational questions that asked organizations to identify and describe their relationships with other partners in the network. Key SNA measures include network density, centralizations, value, and trust.


    Our analyses show a network that is decentralized, has strong perceptions of trust and value among its members, and strong agreement on intended outcomes. Interestingly, partners report a desire and ability to contribute resources to Million Hearts; however, the perceptions between partners are that resources are not being contributed at the level they potentially could be. The majority of partners reported that being in the network helped them achieve their goals related to cardiovascular disease prevention. The largest barrier to successful activities within the network was cited as lack of targeted funding and staff to support participation in the network.


    The Million Hearts network described in this article is unique in its membership at the national level, agreement on outcomes, its powerful information-sharing abilities that require few resources, and its decentralized structure. We identified strategies that could be implemented to strengthen the network and its activities. By examining a national-level public-private partnership formed to address a public health issue, we can identify ways to strengthen the network and provide a framework for developing other initiatives.

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