Establishing the Assessment Team
"The best efforts risk failure if they are not properly supported with appropriate local organization"- Communities Working Together for a Healthier New York (portable document format file size 898 MB,88 pages)
- Secure buy-in and commitment
- Form preparation team
- Create structure for planning process
- Identify barriers and facilitators to success
Secure buy-in and commitmentBegin within your own organization. Secure commitment from people in authority. They could influence public opinion, mobilize, support and engage partners, inspire action, facilitate locating and securing resources, guide decision making, advocate for the project's goals and set policy. Depending on the scope of the assessment initiative, you may want to enlist support from among community stakeholders.
Form preparation team to identify goals and first stepsA small group, which may be a new group or a pre-existing one, can make some preliminary decisions like who to include in the steering and/or advisory committees, identify resources needs for orientation, develop written draft of roles and charge of steering/advisory group members, and help set up the initial committee.
Create structure for planning processDepending on the goals of the assessment initiative, there are issues to consider when you are deciding on a planning structure. Issues relating to decision-making authority, work distribution, short-and long- term accountability, and broader community involvement will have to be addressed through this structure. Questions relating to cost, time commitment and process will have to be clarified before members are invited. "Communities Working Together for a Healthier New York" (pdf, 89 pages), a report by New York State Public Health Council published in September 1996 emphasizes the importance of community action, as opposed to government action alone, in promoting the health of New Yorkers. It is important to define roles of members within the planning structure. Members of an advisory group provide informed input on topics such as the planning process, priority or focal area, target populations, scope of objectives, marketing and other aspects of the 2010 plan. Members of the steering group navigate the course of the planning process, establish work groups, determine input processes, and make decisions about the content of the plan. A Planning Structure tool can walk you through the process of setting up committees and workgroups.
Identify potential barriers and facilitators to successIdentify how this assessment initiative will align and/or integrate with other planning and improvement efforts. A Strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) Worksheet can be used to assess the 'playing field'. Identify lessons from past successes and failures, and assess how the current assessment initiative can support and advance partner organizations' policies and priorities.
Identify orientation and training needs of team membersPlanning groups are constantly evolving. Implementing team orientation guidelines, can help new members. The team may wish to assess what additional information, resources, or training team members need to perform effectively. In the Community Assessment and Information Training Survey released in 1999, county health department staff identified several needs. The top five skill areas of interest were developing local data systems, developing report cards/performance measures, analyzing/mapping small area data, use of assessment models and program evaluation. These skills areas were consistent with those identified in the review of the 1999-2004 Community Health Assessments. Link your team members with training opportunties and public health resources.
-Adapted from Healthy People 2010 Toolkit