Research Paper


Teri A. Garstka, Ph.D.
Randi Harms, MA
Jared Barton, Ph.D.
Lindsay Galindo, Ed.S.
Loretta Severin, BA
Jacklyn Biggs, Ph.D.

Publish Date

This article was submitted for review on June 24, 2021. The final article (Version of Record) link will be made available upon publication. Please check back for updates.


This evaluation was supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services; Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal Infant and Early
Childhood Home Visiting Innovation Award to the Kansas Department of Health and
Environment (17UH4MC30466). The University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and
Research was contracted by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to conduct this

Abstract:  Collaboration between public health, healthcare, and social services is critical to address social determinants of health and crises like COVID-19. Over forty-seven months (2017 to 2020), five rural counties in southeast Kansas implemented an adaptive collaboration approach to service and referral coordination with a shared protocol and tool, IRIS. Over time, the active partner network increased in size (Time 1 N=5; Time 4 N=45), included seven sectors (e.g., social services, public health), and coordinated services for 2,314 individuals with 3,088 referrals. Social network analysis showed an efficient and interconnected network by Time 4. The percentage of referrals that converted into service enrollments (i.e., ‘quality referrals’) increased (Time 1= 33.1%; Time 4 = 41.4%, χ2(1, 1045) = 2.87, p = .09). Referrals made interim-COVID-19 decreased, but they were more likely to be quality referrals. Results support the importance of an adaptive collaboration framework, a shared referral tool, and transparent protocols to build effective cross-sector networks.

Read the submitted article here