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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2006 May;17(2 Suppl):55-77.

Addressing disparities through coalition building: Alabama REACH 2010 lessons learned.

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  • 1Division of Preventive Medicine, University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA.


Community-based coalitions have become accepted vehicles for addressing complex health problems. Few articles have described the challenges and lessons learned from such a process. The purpose of this paper is two-fold: 1) to describe the processes involved in building and maintaining the REACH 2010 Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Coalition (ABCCCC) and 2) to highlight the lessons learned from this venture. Principles from community-based participatory research were used 1) to establish and maintain the ABCCCC, 2) to build coalition capacity, and 3) to develop breast and cervical cancer interventions. Over 95% of our coalition has been maintained over a 7-year period. The ABCCCC received a total of 17 breast and cervical cancer mini-grants. Adherence to ground rules such as exhibiting respect and trust and practicing open communication helped to solidify our partnership. Lessons learned from the ABCCCC can provide others with an in-depth exploration of the processes involved in coalition formation and maintenance.

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