The Healthy Schools Successful Students (HSSS) Professional Development (PD) Team has long held the importance of promoting collaboration across organizations and systems to achieve our collective aims. Although there were numerous networking opportunities and structured activities to improve understanding of our network and collaboration, the longstanding challenge we faced has been figuring out a way to assess and visualize collaboration between members.
To address this challenge, the Colorado State University Prevention Research Center (CSU PRC), a member of the PD team, proposed using Social Network Analysis (SNA) because of its ability to map membership and relationships of groups. The PD Team opted to utilize this method and formed a workgroup solely dedicated to the SNA work. The CSU PRC lead this workgroup given their expertise in SNA, survey development, data analysis, and translation of research findings. We were able to develop two network maps that provide a snapshot of the PD team, existing connections among members, areas of expertise, and where members provide services across Colorado through this analysis.
The PD team used these network maps to improve our understanding of our team. Unfortunately, additional opportunities to utilize this work were limited due to challenges in uptake and diffusion of the maps and changes in the PD Team’s purpose. Since we conducted the SNA near the end of the funding cycle, the long term impacts of this work are unknown. Future collaboratives that convene to promote school health and wellness could potentially use these results to inform and drive efforts.