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J Public Health Manag Pract. 2005 Mar-Apr;11(2):116-22.

Turning point and public health institutes: vehicles for systems change.

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  • 1Turning Point National Program Office, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Public Health Institutes are free-standing multisector entities able to function as conveners to improve health status and foster innovations in health systems. Turning Point is a program funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, involving 21 statewide initiatives and 2 "linked" states that formed multisector collaborative partnerships for public health systems change. In 18 of the Turning Point states, there are also Public Health Institutes, some formed by Turning Point partnerships and some established independently. Both Turning Point and Public Health Institutes represent efforts to reform and enhance public health systems. What has been the relationship between these two organizational forms? This descriptive, qualitative study examined the relationships between state-level Turning Point partnerships and Public Health Institutes in states that have both. Key participants in both institutions were interviewed, and models were developed to represent those relationships. Principal findings suggest that the relationships of Turning Point state partnerships with Public Health Institutes have taken many shapes. Factors that influence the choices and sequencing of these options are largely related to the political and economic resources of each state. Turning Point participants perceived Public Health Institutes to be a useful organizational form for sustaining public health systems change. Public Health Institutes have more administrative and fiscal flexibility than state government and greater opportunities for policy development and advocacy. However, free-standing institutes also have greater financial uncertainty.

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