children and adults. Some of the examples that were discussed took the form of relatively formal activities, but other, less-formal types of partnerships were also considered.
The response to the study of the Englewood District in Chicago illustrated the recent emergence of a neighborhood partnership in response to concerns about low immunization rates. With data from the CDC study, the city health department was able to begin working with health care providers, parents, community agencies, and the local health council. Many of the longer-term activities are now sustained under the leadership of the health council.
The measles outbreak of the early 1990s also stimulated the development of Chicago-area partnerships that have evolved into the broadly based Chicago Area Immunization Campaign and Chicago Partnership for Public Health. These citywide activities convene collaborators from government, health plans, professional organizations, local businesses, community organizations, and philanthropic groups. Partnership efforts provide an opportunity to educate the broad range of participants about immunization concerns and about how they can respond to those concerns. Business leaders, for example, can learn how their health insurance benefits packages affect the costs of immunization for their employees. And philanthropic groups can identify opportunities to support community education or quality improvement programs by health care providers’ professional organizations. The health department also continues to work directly with providers to conduct immunization assessments in their practices, but officials noted that they have only three staff members for a population of 1,200 VFC providers.
The Partners Project is a national partnership that seeks to develop science-based approaches to improve the delivery of preventive services, including adult immunization. A project team based in southeast Michigan has participants from the region’s major health plans, major automobile manufacturers and the United Auto Workers (purchasers of health plan services), the state and local health departments, and a local provider organization. For this project, factors that contributed to the success of the work of the partnership included a clear alignment of goals, the involve-ment of leadership from the partner organizations, skilled assistance to resolve conflicts, achievable short- and long-term outcomes, persistence and patience, confidentiality, and trust.
The workshop discussions also pointed to the importance of building new partnerships within the health care community. Professional societies have a role to play in keeping their members informed about immunization issues and in establishing expectations for appropriate standards of practice. Professional schools have a responsibility to provide up-to-date training for new clinicians and also have the opportunity to bring immu-