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The Gerontologist 46:391-397 (2006)
© 2006 The Gerontological Society of America

Governance and Management Structures for Community Partnerships: Experiences From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Community Partnerships for Older Adults Program

Elise J. Bolda, PhD1, Paul Saucier, MA1, George L. Maddox, PhD2, Terrie Wetle, PhD3 and Jane Isaacs Lowe, PhD4

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Elise J. Bolda, PhD, Community Partnerships for Older Adults, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, P.O. Box 9300, 509 Forest Avenue, Suite 290, Portland, ME 04104-9300. E-mail: eliseb{at}

Purpose: This article describes early efforts of four community partnerships in Boston, El Paso, Houston, and Milwaukee to address governance and management structures in ways that promote the sustainability of innovative community-based long-term care system improvements. The four communities are grantees of the Community Partnerships for Older Adults Program, a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that fosters local partnerships to improve long-term care and supportive-services systems in order to meet the current and future needs of older adults. Design and Methods: We examined community partnership approaches to governance and management, as well as evidence of the partnerships' influence in their communities, by using the conceptual framework of the community health partnerships typology developed by Shannon M. Mitchell and Stephen Shortell. Results: Addressing governance and management issues was critical to the early evolution of community partnerships for older adults. Early partnership experiences, particularly with regard to local funders and media, provide evidence of emerging centrality (importance and influence in the community), which forecasts sustainability. Observation over a longer period is needed in order to see whether early successes will be sustained, particularly once original grant funding ends. Implications: Community partnerships for older adults can become influential positive forces but must invest in adequate governance and management structures early on.

Key Words: Community partnerships • Partnership governance • Partnership management • Partnership sustainability • Long-term care systems

All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2006 by The Gerontological Society of America.