A recent study, led by Dr Courtney Barnes, has highlighted factors in the contributing to the success of a Health Promotion Community of Practice (CoP) model among three New South Wales (NSW) local health districts (LHDs).
The CoP model was designed to support the adoption of an effective healthy lunchbox program known as ‘SWAP IT’ across the three participating LHDs. The initiative aimed to enhance the collective impact across LHDs by fostering collaboration and the sharing of evidence and expertise.
What sets this initiative apart is the harmonised evaluation of locally developed strategies to facilitate program adoption across the LHDs. This approach allowed for a more comprehensive understanding of what works best in different LHDs.
The success of the CoP was attributed to key activities, including planning workshops, implementation check-ins, and knowledge exchange meetings and its alignment with both local and state health priorities. Importantly, the model did not impose significant time demands on participants, ensuring its sustainability and continued effectiveness. The collaborative spirit and flexible structure of the CoP were key factors in its success.
The study’s findings suggest that a formalised Health Promotion CoP model holds promise as an effective model for enhancing collaboration, information sharing, and best practice across LHDs in NSW. The positive outcomes from this pilot suggest that this model may be suitable for broader application throughout the state, potentially improving health promotion efforts and outcomes for communities across New South Wales.