A Social Network Analysis of 140 Community-Academic Partnerships for Health: Examining the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program

Clin Transl Sci. 2015 Aug;8(4):311-9. doi: 10.1111/cts.12288. Epub 2015 May 14.


Introduction: Social Network Analysis (SNA) provides an important, underutilized approach to evaluating Community Academic Partnerships for Health (CAPHs). This study examines administrative data from 140 CAPHs funded by the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program (HWPP).

Methods: Funder data was normalized to maximize number of interconnections between funded projects and 318 non-redundant community partner organizations in a dual mode analysis, examining the period from 2003-2013.Two strategic planning periods, 2003-2008 vs. 2009-2014, allowed temporal comparison.

Results: Connectivity of the network was largely unchanged over time, with most projects and partner organizations connected to a single large component in both time periods. Inter-partner ties formed in HWPP projects were transient. Most community partners were only involved in projects during one strategic time period. Community organizations participating in both time periods were involved in significantly more projects during the first time period than partners participating in the first time period only (Cohen's d = 0.93).

Discussion: This approach represents a significant step toward using objective (non-survey) data for large clusters of health partnerships and has implications for translational science in community settings. Considerations for government, funders, and communities are offered. Examining partnerships within health priority areas, orphaned projects, and faculty ties to these networks are areas for future research.

Keywords: community engagement; community-academic partnerships for health; social network analysis; team science; translational research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Social Support*
  • Time Factors
  • Wisconsin