Institution-to-Institution Mentoring to Build Capacity in 24 Local US Health Departments: Best Practices and Lessons Learned
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Institution-to-Institution Mentoring to Build Capacity in 24 Local US Health Departments: Best Practices and Lessons Learned

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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Introduction Institutional mentoring may be a useful capacity-building model to support local health departments facing public health challenges. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted a qualitative evaluation of an institutional mentoring program designed to increase capacity of health departments seeking to address chronic disease prevention. The mentoring program included 2 program models, a one-to-one model and a collaborative model, developed and implemented for 24 Communities Putting Prevention to Work grantee communities nationwide. Methods We conducted semi-structured telephone interviews to assess grantees’ perspectives on the effectiveness of the mentoring program in supporting their work. Two interviews were conducted with key informants from each participating community. Three evaluators coded and analyzed data using ATLAS.ti software and using grounded theory to identify emerging themes. Results We completed 90 interviews with 44 mentees. We identified 7 key program strengths: learning from the New York City health department’s experience, adapting resources to local needs, incorporating new approaches and sharing strategies, developing the mentor–mentee relationship, creating momentum for action, establishing regular communication, and encouraging peer interaction. Conclusion Participants overwhelmingly indicated that the mentoring program’s key strengths improved their capacity to address chronic disease prevention in their communities. We recommend dissemination of the results achieved, emphasizing the need to adapt the institutional mentoring model to local needs to achieve successful outcomes. We also recommend future research to consider whether a hybrid programmatic model that includes regular one-on-one communication and in-person conferences could be used as a standard framework for institutional mentoring.
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