The National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA) was an initiative to mobilize a nationwide, comprehensive, community-driven, and sustained approach to combating health disparities, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. The mission was to increase the effectiveness of programs that target the elimination of health disparities through the coordination of partners, leaders, and stakeholders.

Community Science evaluated the NPA with the goal of determining the extent to which they, by creating multi sector partnerships across different levels, 1) were able to call attention to the social determinants of health and 2) to inform and support strategies to end racial and ethnic health disparities. Given the multilevel infrastructure of stakeholders involved, the evaluation used a mixed methods approach to examine this complex initiative across various sectors and geographic regions. Data collection included stakeholder surveys to assess coalition functioning, interviews with coalition members and those participating in community activities, and extensive document review of the initiative’s 11 working collaboratives. We provided timely, useful feedback on the implementation progress and collected lessons learned in building the infrastructure required to maintain a national approach to ending health disparities.

Given that the NPA sought to make systems-level changes across multiple sectors, we used a systems approach to identify components that could be effectively assessed and to guide the evaluation design. This strategy involved developing impact case studies that illustrated the broader influence of the NPA over efforts to address health disparities at the local, regional, and national levels. The case studies included federal policy change, development of health equity professionals, changes in county and city policies and practices, and development of cross-sector partnerships.