Start a Coalition

Section 5: Case Studies (Appendices)

Appendix A: Lessons Learned from an Urban County Falls Prevention Coalition- Milwaukee

Overview of the Coalition:

The Milwaukee County Falls Prevention Coalition (MCFPC) was formed in 2019 to address the issue of falls amongst community-dwelling older adults within the county.  The initiative started following conversations with community stakeholders including emergency medical services (EMS), public health, healthcare providers, and county aging department.  The central theme of a community needs assessment was the lack of coordination between older adults who were at risk of falls, health systems, EMS providers, and community programs. The coalition was formed to prevent falls and address a lack of equitable access to resources across a racially and economically diverse county.  The coalition holds monthly meetings (virtually beginning in June 2020) with members organized into action teams to accomplish components of strategic plan.  The primary focus of the coalition has been increasing community awareness, outreach education, and building partnerships within the community.


  • Defined the public health problem in the community and set a clear strategic plan to address

  • Formed a steering committee with engaged leaders to lay the foundation and drive efforts

  • Organize work into short cycles of action teams with clear objectives aligned with larger goals

  • Initial and ongoing efforts to recruit new members, leveraging networks of existing coalition

  • Strategic partnerships and alignment with complimentary programs
    -Philanthropic funding
    -DHHS Division on Aging
    -Multiple health systems
    -Community organizations


  • Lack of representation of communities of color in planning fall prevention outreach and efforts

  • Difficult to reach communities of color with evidence-based programs and resources

  • Coordinating efforts across large footprint and handoffs between levels of care

  • Measuring impact of fall prevention efforts on fall rates in community

  • Limited outreach during COVID-19 pandemic and challenges in virtually connecting with the community

Lessons Learned

  • Engage members throughout the journey with shared vision for community and what they can take away from coalition as well as in monthly meetings

  • Think outside the box – important to have creative thinkers from different aspects of community present

  • Build upon established relationships in the community
    -EMS outreach to local communities
    -Home care/senior networks that have large membership of professionals who can be allies for coalition

  • Measure everything! Expand focus from specific falls outcomes to measurement of individuals educated, attendees at outreach events, and traffic on electronic sites (social media, website)

  • Place early emphasis on identifying, creating, and distributing materials as community members and providers are starving for resources

  • Have strong leaders who can drive efforts forward but also build a sustainability plan to outlast individuals

  • Regular check in with members and stakeholders to assess impact and effectiveness of coalition

  • Align efforts with existing priorities and efforts within community and/or partner organizations

Appendix B: Lessons Learned from a Rural County Coalition- Waushara

Overview of the Coalition:

The Active Aging Committee is a subgroup of the Waushara County Prevention Council.  The group was formed in 2012 to increase the need and awareness of the growing number of aging adults in the county.  The group started with 2 representatives from the Prevention Council, who then recruited 3 older adults.  The group began meeting bi-monthly to discuss opportunities to share more about resources and events that focused on healthy aging.  The group also began to explore gap areas that have been expressed.  The group continues its work in being active in developing goals and objectives from community input and the Aging Unit Goals.


  • Brings a focus for healthy aging within the Prevention Council (which traditionally had a strong focus on maternal and family health)

  • Partner in the Health Fair directed towards older adults and now continues with the Community Fair each year. This is a good example of leveraging something that already exists to further the goals of the Active Aging Committee.

  • Initial and ongoing efforts to recruit new members, leveraging networks of the existing coalition.

  • ADA assessment on all county parks -Waushara County Parks Department received a $600,000 grant to update parks based on committee’s input.

  • Established different community events for older adults, such as Twisting to Your Favorites dance

  • Engaging older adults on the Committee because their perspective is vital to the group’s overall success.


  • Keep enough members to help with the events

  • Lack of community participation in events

  • Effectively communicating the work of the Committee so that the broader community understands why it exists and what value it brings.

  • Keeping people engaged while not meeting during the pandemic

Lessons Learned

  • To be flexible and adapt, as necessary to sustain the Committee despite what may be happening around us in the community and world

  • Better marketing and communication which would help garner community support for the Committee’s priorities and goals

  • Recruit members with the same goals in mind and ensure clear goals and expectations are identified and communicated

  • Identify what’s going to best motivate the Committee to ensure the work continues, even when unable to meet in person

Appendix C: Best Practices- September Falls Prevention Month Activities, Dane County

September is National Falls Prevention Month and an opportunity to shed light on this topic that impacts so many of our older adults and their families. The Dane County Falls Prevention Task Force, supported by Safe Communities, collaborates with community, health, and academic partners to host an annual free, half-day event called “Only Leaves Should Fall” (OLSF). Prior to Covid-19, this event rotated locations/host sites throughout Dane County in an effort to reach all areas of the County. Due to Covid-19, virtual events were held for two years and starting in 2022, there will be multiple “mini” events in different areas of the County with the goal of taking programming to our local communities. 

This annual event brings together each of the major health-care systems in Dane County, nonprofit organizations serving older adults, senior centers, UW- Madison, and Madison College. At OLSF, older adults learn about local falls prevention programs/classes, receive screenings and reviews for blood pressure, cognitive function, medication, vision, gait and balance; and to participate in program demonstrations, such as Tai Chi and Stepping On. Participants leave with community resources and information about how to best prevent a fall. The goal of the event is to help participants better understand what might contribute to their risk of falling and how to best prevent a fall from happening in the first place.  

Lessons Learned

  • Making the event free of charge and hosting mini events in local communities throughout the county reduces both financial and transportation barriers to participation.

  • Providing lunch and making the event free of charge are good incentives to encourage and increase participation.

  • Working with faculty partners at UW-Madison and Madison College provides the opportunity for intergenerational interaction and connection.

  • Evaluations and feedback forms provide the opportunity to conduct follow-up with participants and to improve the event in subsequent years.

  • Rotating host sites provides the opportunity to reach all areas of the County.

  • A keynote address from someone well-known helps engage participants and increase participation numbers.

  • Local businesses and companies are often happy to sponsor lunch, if asked, because it helps them engage with their community. 

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