• Journal Article

Informal Training in Staff Networks to Support Dissemination of Health Promotion Programs


Ramanadhan, S., Wiecha, J., Gortmaker, S. L., Emmons, K. M., & Viswanath, K. (2010). Informal Training in Staff Networks to Support Dissemination of Health Promotion Programs. American Journal of Health Promotion, 25(1), 12-18. DOI: 10.4278/ajhp.080826-QUAN-163


Purpose. To study informal skill transfer via staff networks as a complement to formal training among afterschool childcare providers implementing a health promotion program. Design. Gross-sectional, sociometric network analysis. Setting. Boston Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) afterschool programs implementing the iPLAY program. Participants. All 91 staff members at 20 sites were eligible; 80 completed the survey (88% response rate). Measures. At the network level, network density measured system-level connectedness. At the staff level, the independent variable was out degree, the number of individuals to whom respondents noted a program-related connection. The dependent variable was skill gains, the number of key implementation skills gained from the network. Analysis. We mapped the staff program-related social network. We utilized multiple linear regression to estimate the relationship between out degree and skill gains, and we adjusted for clustering of staff in sites. Results. Most staff (77%) reported gaining at least one skill from the network, but only 2% of potential network connections were established. The regression model showed that out degree (i.e., number of program-related contacts) was significantly associated with skill gains (beta = .48, p < .01) independent of other variables. Conclusion. Informal skill transfer in staff networks may be a useful complement to formal training for implementation of health promotion programs, but informal skill transfer was likely underutilized in this network. Future research employing longitudinal and/or multisite data should examine these findings in greater detail. (Am J Health Promot 2010;25111:12-18.)