Realistic Expectations: Investing in Organizational Capacity Building for Chronic Disease Prevention
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PURPOSE: This article presents findings that explore investment in organizational capacity building for chronic disease prevention. Specifically, this analysis examines variation in investment inputs, intervention outputs, and capacity changes to inform expectations of health-promotion capacity-building investment. DESIGN/SETTING: This multiple case study involving both qualitative and quantitative data is based on seven provincial dissemination projects involved in the Canadian Heart Health Initiative. METHODS: Data on investment, number, and type of capacity-building activities and capacity changes come from a questionnaire, key informant interviews, and project report analysis. Quantitative data were analyzed descriptively and for trends, while qualitative data were analyzed thematically. RESULTS: Per capita investments in capacity building ranged from a low of $0.21 in Ontario to $167.41 in Prince Edward Island. Multiple, tailored capacity-building interventions were used in each project. Mostly positive but modest changes were observed in at least five dimensions of capacity in all but one project. CONCLUSION: These findings reveal that capacity building for chronic disease prevention requires a long-term investment and is context specific. Even limited investment can produce interventions that appear to positively influence capacity for chronic disease prevention. The findings also suggest an urgent need to expand surveillance to include indicators of capacity-building investments and interventions to allow policy makers to make more informed decisions about investments in public health.
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