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Pulling Together - Background

The contents of this guide are based on feedback and information gathered from agency practitioners through surveys and dialogue at a series of regional and state workshops.                 

In 1997, NACCHO surveyed regional staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) about their interactions with local public health agencies. Analysis of the results indicates that agency staff wanted a better understanding of local health department roles and capacities to address hazardous waste remediation. NACCHO worked with EPA, ATSDR, and state and local health agencies to coordinate the Partnerships for Public Health at Hazardous Waste Sites workshops. These workshops were designed to facilitate discussion about how agencies can "pull together" and improve communication and collaboration to enhance cohesiveness, focus their activities, and share resources with each other and the communities they serve.

Through these workshops, NACCHO was able to gather practitioner perspectives on collaboration and develop a model for bringing agencies together. Additionally, NACCHO conducted a thorough review of the literature on interagency collaboration. In Pulling Together, practitioner perspectives and experiences are combined with the results of several research efforts on factors related to successful interagency collaboration (Bardach, Wilder, Wondolleck, and Linden). This guide builds on and offers the best of both practice and research.