Overcoming barriers to sustaining health equity interventions: Insights from the national institutes of health centers for population health and health disparities

Tanjala S. Purnell, David O. Fakunle, Lee R. Bone, Timothy P. Johnson, Nanci Hemberger, Stephanie B. Jilcott Pitts, Janice V. Bowie, Kandice Oakley, Beti Thompson, Electra D. Paskett, Lisa A. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We conducted qualitative semi- structured telephone interviews with the directors of the 10 National Institutes of Health Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities (NIH/ CPHHD) to identify factors that were associated with the sustainability of 19 interventions developed to address cancer disparities and 17 interventions developed to address cardiovascular disease disparities in the United States. Interview transcripts were analyzed using the constant comparative method of analysis to identify key themes and synthesize findings. Directors at NIH/ CPHHD reported that barriers to sustainability included uncertainty about future funding and insufficient resources to build and maintain diverse stakeholder partnerships. Strategies that helped to overcome these barriers included developing and engaging community partnerships with health care systems; early pursuit of multiple funding sources; and investments in infrastructure to address the social determinants of health. Sustainability planning should be incorporated during the early stages of intervention development to facilitate maintenance of successful programs that address health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1212-1236
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2019



  • Access to care
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Equity
  • Health disparities
  • Interventions
  • Quality of care
  • Social determinants of health
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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