Please Sign In or Create an account
Partnerships that effectively inform prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne viruses (BBVs): A case study from Western Australia

Partnerships that effectively inform prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne viruses (BBVs): A case study from Western Australia

Methods: Since 2012, the Sexual Health and Blood-Borne Virus Applied Research and Evaluation Network (SiREN) has been coordinated by Curtin University to support partners to collect evidence of what works, how, why, and in what contexts, and to use this evidence in programming and policy decisions. SiREN is guided by a tracking and monitoring mixed methods research approach that enables tailored and responsive services for partners.

Results: The SiREN partnerships have resulted in a range of outcomes. For some partners, there was a clear organisational shift in emphasis where desired program outcomes and evaluation evidence were considered before, during and after program planning. Other partners experienced gains in research and evaluation knowledge and skills and assistance with funding and ethics proposals. Benefits for research partners included publications, new projects, small grants and opportunities to build a body of evidence and experience in STI/BBV research.

Conclusions: A long term investment is required to fully realise the benefits of university-practice-policy partnerships that support evidence based STI and BBV programming and policy decisions. Defining and communicating the role and expectations of each partner are critical. Seeking assistance and sharing data requires trust and rapport within partnerships. New ways of working together take time and other resources to operationalise. Researchers engaging in such partnerships have the potential to achieve significant research outputs (including competitive grants) however these are somewhat driven by the capacity and expectations of all partners. Capacity building efforts targeted at the organisational level will help reduce dependence on individuals. Working with fewer partners and leveraging the networks of the respective organisations may also boost capacity-building efforts further.