Community-based coalitions are commonly formed to plan and to carry out public health interventions. The literature includes evaluations of coalition structure, composition, and functioning; evaluations of community-level changes achieved through coalition activities; and the association between coalition characteristics and various indicators of success. Little information is available on the comparative advantage or “added value” of conducting public health interventions through coalitions as opposed to less structured collaborative mechanisms. This paper describes a qualitative, iterative process carried out with site representatives of the Controlling Asthma in American Cities Project (CAACP) to identify outcomes directly attributable to coalitions. The process yielded 2 complementary sets of results. The first were criteria that articulated and limited the concept of “added value of coalitions”. The criteria included consensus definitions, an organizing figure, a logic model, and inclusion/exclusion criteria. The second set of results identified site-specific activities that met the definitional criteria and were, by agreement, examples of CAACP coalitions’ added value. Beyond the specific findings relevant to the added value of coalitions in this project, the use of a social ecological model to identify the components of added value and the placement of those components within a logic model specific to coalitions should provide useful tools for those planning and assessing coalition-based projects
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