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Subst Use Misuse. 2000 Jan;35(1-2):75-86.

Institutionalization of community action projects to reduce alcohol-use related problems: systematic facilitators.

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Prevention Research Center, Berkeley, California 94704, USA.


This article reviews papers from a recent conference on community action research in order to identify factors that contribute to long-term maintenance, sustainability, or institutionalization of community project interventions. The descriptions of long-term outcomes and aftereffects of projects that emerged in the conference are valuable because relatively few instances of institutionalization have been documented in the scientific literature. After a general theoretical discussion of institutionalization in communities, the article identifies characteristics of successful community action programs that outlived their original funding. These characteristics include honoring community values and cultural relevance, cultivating key leader support, and utilizing indigenous staff. They also include developing local resources, maintaining flexibility, and leveraging prior success. The paper concludes by noting that aiming for policy and structural changes is a goal for an institutionalization of measures positively affecting desired health outcomes, even if the programs which created them are not themselves sustained.

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