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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Comprehensive school health: the struggle for collaboration Frankum, Judith Patricia


This study examined the importance of curriculum development and dissemination practices and subsequent implications for the implementation of a complex innovation. In particular, it investigated the role of multidisciplinary collaboration, necessary in a complex innovation. Specifically, the Learning for Living Program in British Columbia was reviewed. This program is a complex innovation based on the framework of comprehensive school health. This framework requires the integration of three components: health instruction, services for students and a healthy school environment. The complexity of this program adds a layer of difficulty to implementation as it requires an integration of services among different sectors and the collaboration of various agencies or participants. This process may represent a shift in some of the established structural relationships and routines within school districts and communities. An analysis was made of how multidisciplinary collaboration was addressed at the Ministry, school district and school-based levels during the development and dissemination of the innovation. A school-based team was studied as an example of multidisciplinary collaboration at work in a large school system in Canada. Results support research that shows that obstacles to achieving implementation of a complex innovation, e.g. comprehensiveness, are due to significant failures of policy and practice during development and dissemination. These obstacles can be mediated by the influence of external agencies, social support, and policy changes over time. A general recommendation for complex innovations would be to seek a variety of strategies that might facilitate the multidisciplinary, collaborative approach throughout the development - implementation continuum.

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