Associate professor in Fairfield University's School of Nursing completes Health Partners Fellowship
Philip A. Greiner, DNSc, RN, associate professor in the School of Nursing at Fairfield University, this month completes a two-year Health Partners Fellowship at the International Center for Health Leadership Development (ICHLD).
The Center, a strategic alliance of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, seeks in part to increase the leadership capacity within community organizations and academic institutions to create partnerships that address local health needs. Only 12 fellows were selected for the program out of 140 applicants for Greiner's class. Only three classes have participated in the program thus far.
Dr. Greiner is director of Fairfield University's Health Promotion Center in Bridgeport, Conn., which provides health education, screening activities and referrals to people through other community organizations. The grant-funded center grapples with the same issues, such as sustainability, cultural competence, and access to services that affect many organizations that provide services to low- to moderate-income families. "The Health Partners Fellowship helps leaders overcome such challenges by interacting with and learning from others in community and academic institutions," he said. "The primary focus is to help develop people."
Dr. Greiner traveled throughout the United States for five one-week training meetings during each year of the fellowship. The meetings allowed fellows to exchange ideas, gain new knowledge about community and academic partnerships, learn from expert leaders on the ICHLD faculty and visit sites where partnerships are working well.
While helping those in community health organizations to understand the inner workings of the academic institutions they seek to partner with, Dr. Greiner in turn picked the brains of his fellow participants about issues he encounters working in communities. Sustainability, for example, is a major problem for organizations such as the Health Promotion Center. "Such organizations often receive significant grant funding the first few years of operations, but then have difficulty securing enough funding to continue operations," Dr. Greiner said. "The sudden loss of an organization that a local community has come to depend on often causes them to distrust other such groups. Communities learn to be leery of such hit and run approaches.
"Organizations must work on providing programs they may be capable of continuing after initial grant money is gone," Dr. Greiner said. "And they must make proactive searches for continued funding a priority."
Racial understanding is another issue on which Dr. Greiner's fellowship focused. "You learn to listen to people about not just what they need, but about who they are and what their experience has been with other community initiatives," Dr. Greiner said.
In July, Dr. Greiner and Nancy Tartt, fellows in the second class, were chosen to participate in the final round of interviews for the potential third class of Health Partners Fellows. The twelve finalists will begin their two-year fellowship in September 2002.
"Phil was a very active member of the fellowship," said Virginia Martinez, J.D., director of the International Center for Health Leadership Development. "His comments were always thoughtful and he drew upon his experience in working with community and university partners."
In February 2003, Dr. Greiner will travel to El Paso, Texas where the International Center for Health Leadership Development will bring all three of the Health Partners classes together to discuss their experiences. The fellowship program carries out the ICHLD's mission to conduct leadership development activities that help to better prepare leaders from communities, community health centers and health professions education to build linkages between communities and institutions.
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Posted on August 10, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 18