and social groups. The ability of community partnerships to reach a value consensus in implementing its initiatives is a sign of competence. This is especially critical in community coalitions, which have multiple points of view from which to draw an organizational base.
Critical Reflection. The ability of a community partnership to reach consensus around values is predicated on its capacity to engage in critical reflection, to reflect on the assumptions underlying community ideas and actions, and to contemplate alternative ways of thinking and living (Brookfield, 1987). Critical reflection includes the ability to reason logically and scrutinize arguments for ambiguity (Ennis, 1962). The ability to reason logically is a first step. The second is to put forth logical reflection so that community members gain an understanding of forces in their environment to enable them to act to promote both individual and social changes (Israel, Checkoway, Schulz, & Zimmerman, 1994; Wallerstein & Bernstein, 1994). The translation of reflection to reasoned action reflects the partnership's movement from the capacity to reflect to competently applying the lessons learned from introspection. A notable example of this process is conscientization, make the connections between themselves and the broader social context: when they reflect on their own roles in society, when they understand the history and conditions of a social problem, and when they believe they can participate in collective change (Freire, 1970). The ability, willingness, and belief in critical reflection represents a partnership's potential or capacity to act out of introspection. Capacity translates to comp'etence when critical reflection is transformed into action based on insight. The involvement of CINCH members in training other coalition members at the Institute clearly illustrates that they have developed competency in critical reflection. By defining the challenges they faced in immunizing their children and developing innovative ways to address them, members transformed the way they related to health and human service institutions.
CINCH is a sustainable partnership that improved quality of life through education, advocacy, and empowerment. Throughout the project, members experienced the coalition as a unique opportunity for participation, organizational growth, and leadership. CINCH provided a positive group experience and exemplified the capacity of citizens and institutions to create dynamic, broad-based competent partnerships. This coalition model is generalizable to any locale where citizens seek to solve problems by drawing on their strengths. Promoting public health through coalitions is a community development approach that makes positive outcomes feasible.
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Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Handbook of Health Psychology. Contributors: Andrew Baum - Author, Tracey A. Revenson - Author, Jerome E. Singer - Author. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 623.
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