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Building and Measuring Infrastructure and Capacity for Community Health Assessment and Health Improvement Planning in Florida

Abarca, Christine MPH; Grigg, C. Meade MA; Steele, Jo Ann MPH; Osgood, Laurie BS; Keating, Heidi BA

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181903c42
Evaluating Impacts of Community Health Assessments
Abstract

Background: COMPASS (Comprehensive Assessment, Strategic Success) is the Florida Department of Health's community health assessment and health improvement planning initiative. Since 2002, COMPASS built state and county health department infrastructure to support a comprehensive, systematic, and integrated approach to community health assessment and planning.

Methods: To assess the capacity of Florida's 67 county health departments (CHDs) to conduct community health assessment and planning and to identify training and technical assistance needs, COMPASS surveyed the CHDs using a Web-based instrument annually from 2004 through 2008.

Findings: Response rate to the survey was 100 percent annually. In 2007, 96 percent of CHDs reported conducting assessment and planning within the past 3 years; 74 percent used the MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) framework. Progress was greater for the organizational and assessment phases of the MAPP-based work; only 10 CHDs had identified strategic priorities in 2007, and even fewer had implemented strategies for improving health. In 2007, the most frequently requested types of training were measuring success, developing goals and action plans, and using qualitative data; technical assistance was most frequently requested for program evaluation and writing community health status reports.

Conclusions: Florida's CHDs have increased their capacity to conduct community health assessment and planning. Questions remain about sustaining these gains with limited resources.

In Brief

This article provides an overview of community health assessment and health improvement planning to improve and promote healthier communities in Florida.

Author Information

Christine Abarca, MPH, is Program Coordinator, COMPASS Initiative, Office of Health Statistics and Assessment, Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, Florida.

C. Meade Grigg, MA, is State Registrar of Vital Statistics and Director, Office of Health Statistics and Assessment, Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, Florida.

Jo Ann Steele, MPH, is Bureau Chief, Community Health Assessment, Office of Health Statistics and Assessment, Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, Florida.

Laurie Osgood, BS, is Community Health Planner, COMPASS Initiative, Office of Health Statistics and Assessment, Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, Florida.

Heidi Keating, BA, is Community Health Planner, COMPASS Initiative, Office of Health Statistics and Assessment, Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, Florida.

Corresponding Author: Christine Abarca, MPH, CHES, Florida Department of Health, Office of Health Statistics and Assessment, 4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A05, Tallahassee, FL 32399 (Christine_Abarca@doh.state.fl.us).

This work has been supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Assessment Initiative Cooperative Agreement (Award No. 5-U82-CD-422347-05). The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the CDC.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.