LinkedUp is a multi-sector partnership focused on linking older teens (ages 17-19) to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services at school-based health centers (SBHCs) in Mississippi. The purpose of this study was to examine key partnerships in LinkedUp development, focusing on community needs that initiated the formation of the partnership, and patterns of collaboration among these partners.
In 2018, researchers conducted interviews (N = 3) and focus groups (N = 9) with Mississippi school administrators and high school and college students. In 2019, evaluators examined collaboration between these community partners (N = 6) using an interorganizational network analysis survey.
Thematic analyses of qualitative data indicated a need to commit to linking older teens to SRH services by increasing communication/planning among community stakeholders. Network analysis scores included an average network density of 1, strength of tie of 3.04, and degree centrality of 4.6 (SD = 1.4) for partners.
Our findings illustrate how community stakeholders inform the development of a public health program as critical partners during both needs assessment and program development phases. This information can be used by practitioners and policymakers interested in addressing complex, community-level health issues.