Quality Improvement Learning Collaboratives in Public Health

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded “mini-collaboratives” with state and local health departments (LHDs) in 16 states; participation in the program was leveraged to require implementation of quality improvement (QI) programs.

Learning collaboratives disperse knowledge across public health agencies. The Multi-State Learning Collaborative: Lead States in Public Health Quality Improvement (MLC) initiative provided local and state health departments with quality management tools; participants applied their new QI skills in priority areas. States were given considerable latitude in setting up their mini-collaboratives.

For this multi-site case study, researchers collected "on-the-ground" feedback from the mini-collaboratives.

Key Findings:

  • The most effective mini-collaboratives showed distinct advantages in six areas, including sponsorship and faculty, topics and advance work.
  • Successful mini-collaboratives enlisted senior leadership and articulated clear goals to participants.
  • A majority of LHDs endorsed the mini-collaboratives as a learning and engagement tool.

This article presents case studies of the MLC mini-collaboratives. The authors identify characteristics of successful collaboratives. The next step will be to test approaches to collaborative learning developed by the MLC.