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Building partnerships among local health departments (LHDs), community health centers, healthcare organizations, offices of rural health, hospitals, non-profit organizations, and the private sector is essential to meet the needs of rural communities. Effective local partnerships set the stage for well-coordinated strategic planning that both maximizes resources and encourages creative approaches to persistent public health concerns. By pooling expertise, funds, and staff time, partners in rural communities can identify common interests, overcome familiar challenges, and develop comprehensive strategies for success.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) considers partnership at the local level critical in safeguarding the health of all communities. This guidebook describes how rural communities can develop and maintain partnerships and provides stories from the field. While this resource does not illustrate the full scope of organizational and community partnerships, it consolidates lessons learned to identify essential elements of a partnership that healthcare providers, community-based organizations (CBO), and LHDs can translate into focused solutions for their rural communities.