Selecting criteria to decide priorities

Before your team begins setting priorities, they have to agree on criteria they will use to set the health focus areas. Criteria used to set priorities in Communities Working Together for a Healthier New York, and Healthy People 2010 will assist in setting criteria or standards for your assessment team.

Communities Working Together for a Healthier New York

Their criteria for setting priorities were based on five principles:

  1. Local community can have the greatest impact on health by intervening in the causes of poor health, rather than focusing on the health problems themselves.
  2. The greatest improvements in health can be achieved in areas where there are effective interventions that involve the entire community and the individual.
  3. The priority health areas must address those conditions that result in the greatest morbidity, mortality, disability and years of productive life lost.
  4. The priority health areas should reflect problems of greatest health concern to local communities.
  5. Progress should be measurable through specific, quantifiable, and practical objectives.

Healthy People 2010 Leading Health Indicators

Criteria guiding selection of Leading Health Indicators were:

  • Worth Measuring- the indicators represent an important and salient aspect of the public's health.
  • Can be measured for diverse populations - the indicators are valid and reliable for the general population and diverse population groups.
  • Understood by people who need to act - people who need to act on their own behalf or that of others should be able to readilty comprehend the indicators and what can be done to improve the status of those indicators.
  • Information will galvanize action - the indicators are ofl such a nature that actions can be taken at the national, state, local and community levels by individuals as sell as organized groups and public and private agencies.
  • Actions that can lead to improvements are known and feasible - there are proven actions (e.g. personal behaviors, implementation of new policies, etc.) that can alter the course of the indicators when widely applied.
  • Measurement over time will reflect results of action - if action is taken, tangible results will be seen indicating improvemnts in various aspects of the nation's health.