Stakeholder partnerships have been the cornerstone of successful SBHCs since their inception in the 1970s. Engagement of key SBHC stakeholders (from within the target community and school) in the initial planning steps is critical. These activities include: conducting a needs assessment, developing the mission and vision, determining location and facility, selection of medical sponsor, program development, pro-forma financial statement development, securing funding, implementation, and evaluation. Inclusion of key stakeholders in these activities will help ensure the proposed model accurately reflects the most relevant needs and concerns, and that it is well received and utilized.
Form an SBHC Planning Group
It is critical to recruit stakeholder partners for the planning group/committee who are decision makers. It is advisable to begin by identifying a core set of stakeholders who are most likely to become the SBHC collaborating partners. The planning group/committee can be expanded to include additional representatives from children and family service agencies and organizations, as the core members of the planning group/committee deem necessary. Create Formal Agreements
It is good business practice for the core group of SBHC stakeholder partners to create a wraparound linkage agreement, such as a letter of agreement (LOA) or a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which spells out the SBHC collaboration. This agreement must include: joint responsibilities, liabilities, expectations, revenue generation, failure to perform, individual roles of each agency/organization, responsibilities, and contribution to the SBHC (in-kind space, staff, supplies).
Maintain an SBHC Advisory Committee
Once the SBHC is opened, the planning group/committee will transition into the SBHC advisory committee. The SBHC advisory committee members will continue to participate in the following activities: provide input into the SBHC’s promotion and marketing; conduct monitoring and oversight; obtain feedback on satisfactory performance; develop funder relationships and conduct fundraising; expand programming and services; and advocate for SBHCs at the local, state, and national levels. Successful collaborative partnerships are critical to the long term financial sustainability of SBHCs. It is important to determine which type of partnership you are seeking with each stakeholder. There are three established partnership levels which can be pursued:
- Cooperation–Informal relationships; shared information only; separate goals, resources and structures.
- Coordination–longer-term effort around a project/task; some planning and division of roles; some shared resources, rewards and risk.
- Collaboration–more durable and pervasive relationships; new structure with commitment to common goals; all partners contribute resources and share rewards and leadership.