CHAPS Background and Requirements

What is CHAPS?


The Colorado Public Health Assessment and Planning System, or CHAPS, is a standardized, coordinated approach to public health planning used by local public health agencies (LPHAs) across the state of Colorado. The guidance that CHAPS provides is scalable and can be customized to help LPHAs meet the requirements of the Colorado Public Health Act and ensure delivery of core public health services

CHAPS was co-developed by public health professionals in state and local government across Colorado. The success of CHAPS lies in the continued sharing of experiences, lessons learned and locally-developed tools between LPHAs. Our Office works to keep CHAPS guidance relevant and sustainable by continually incorporating feedback from LPHAs.

CHAPS Background


Colorado Public Health Act of 2008

Colorado's Public Health Act (Senate Bill 08-194) took effect in 2008. It called for major reforms to Colorado’s governmental public health system. The main purpose of the act is to ensure that core public health services are available to every person in Colorado, regardless of where they live, with a consistent standard of quality.

The act requires:

  • the use of assessments to determine the health status of communities and to identify system-wide capacity issues,
  • development of five-year state and local public health improvement plans that are based on assessment results,
  • and engagement of local communities in health improvement efforts 

The overarching goal of these efforts is to increase the availability and quality of public health services and ultimately improve health outcomes. Read the Colorado Public Health Act in more detail here: Colorado Revised Statutes Section 25-1-501 through Section 25-1-520. For information specific to local Public Health Improvement Plans and their requirements, see Section 25-1-505. 

Office of Public Health Practice, Planning, and Local Partnerships

In response to the Colorado Public Health Act, the Office of Planning, Partnerships and Improvement was created at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The Office is currently known as the Office of Public Health Practice, Planning, and Local Partnerships, or OPHP. Its original purpose was to:

  • Coordinate the implementation of the 2008 Public Health Act
  • Facilitate the development of a standard public health assessment and planning system
  • Provide technical assistance related to assessment and planning
  • Be a liaison between CDPHE and local public health agencies (LPHAs)

Development of the Colorado Health Assessment and Planning System

The Colorado Health Assessment and Planning System (CHAPS) is based on Public Health Act requirements. Our Office and a group of LPHAs worked collaboratively to develop and pilot CHAPS in 2010-2012. CHAPS includes guidance, tools, and templates that can be used to support assessment and planning work. These resources along with the technical assistance available from OPHP continue to evolve to meet the assessment and planning needs in Colorado. CHAPS was most recently updated in 2018-2019.

OPHP is available to provide guidance (technical assistance) to LPHAs on the entire assessment and planning process through one-on-one discussions, site visits, and peer networking opportunities. Our Office can help you navigate key areas such as data gathering, analysis, and interpretation; community engagement; prioritization of health and environmental issues; identification of strategies to address priorities and advance equity; and final plan development, implementation, and evaluation.

National Public Health Accreditation and CHAPS

CHAPS is also designed to align with the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) Standards and MeasuresTwo of the requirements for accreditation are a recent community health assessment and public health improvement plan. CHAPS guidance will support your agency's efforts in completing these two requirements, along with many other necessary public health activities, including health equity capacity building and workforce training; community engagement; and public health communication. 

As a result of the alignment between CHAPS and the PHAB Standards and Measures, CHAPS guidance is grounded in national standards and best practices. Guidance currently reflects PHAB Standards and Measures Version 1.5.

To learn more about how the CHAPS process aligns with the requirements for accreditation view the crosswalk documents below:

If your agency is interested in pursuing PHAB voluntary accreditation, check out the PHAB website, linked above. It can also be helpful to connect with other accredited LPHAs in Colorado to learn from their experience with the process.