Phase 1: Plan the process

Use this phase tohelp determine the project\'s scope, leadership and advisory roles and relationships, develop partnerships, neededresources, timeline and initial communications.
These planning steps are recommended and can be done simultaneously or in an order that makes the most sense for your agency and partners. Review all CHAPS phases before returning to Phase 1 to begin your planning. Timing, funding and capacity assets can help drive how the assessment and planning process is initiated.
"Phase 1 tools and templates"]Coming soon!
"Step 1: Designate an internal agency point of contact and project management team "]
The local public health agency (LPHA) CHAPS point of contact and project management team are responsible for planning and management of the entire CHAPS process. The entire assessment and planning process is meant to be community wide and include stakeholders, however, the main driver for the community health assessment and public health improvement plan is a requirement of each local public health agency in Colorado. Therefore, the structure and makeup of the team will depend on how you are conducting the CHAPS process: as a single entity, regional LPHA partnership, or partnering with other local organizations.
Roles can include
  • Project manager: coordinates and manages the implementation of all CHAPS activities.
  • Agency decision maker(s): public health director, division director, director of planning, etc.
  • Health planner: gathers, interprets and communicates data.
  • Facilitator: plans, facilitates and records meetings.
  • Content experts: LPHA staff and community partners with knowledge across public health topics.
  • Administrative support: coordinates logistics and communicates with stakeholders.
  • Partner organization(s): if process is being co-led, hospital,agency or community partner.
  • Community representatives.

Determine if your internal team needs any additional training on

  • CHAPS.
  • Project management.
  • Data collection (quantitative and qualitative).
  • Public Health Accreditation.
  • Change management.
  • Health equity and community engagement.
  • Social determinants of health.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Facilitation

Gaps in skills can also inform who else in your community or region needs to be part of the process to inform best practices and quality engagement. OPPI staff can also help connect you to these resources and potential partners.

"Step 2: Create anadvisory group"]
The community health assessment and public health improvement plan are intended to be community-based processes and guiding documents that support the local public health agency, key stakeholders and community residents in addressing priority health issues. Once you have determined the internal roles of LPHA staff, create a group of key community or regional stakeholders. This group can:
  • Advise the assessment process (data collection and community engagement).
  • Engage community.
  • Participate in prioritization of public health and environmental health issues.
  • Develop the public health improvement plan.
  • Form work groups to craft action plans to address priority issues.
  • Be responsible for or advise implementation.
  • Contribute to the monitoring and revision of action plans.
  • Contribute to the communication and promotion of the process and plan.
  • Contribute to the evaluation of action plans and assessment and planning process to provide recommendations for improvements for the next cycle.
The make-up of this group will be dependent upon your local process. For example, it can be an already formed group of local partners, such as a health care coalition, public health alliance or LPHA staff representing different counties in a regional partnership. Or it can be a newly formed group for the purpose of guiding the CHAPS process.
Convening this type of advisory group is a great example of Public Health 3.0 and illustrates the “chief health strategist” role that public health plays. From this vantage point, it is also an opportunity for public health to strategically seek stakeholders beyond public health. As the Colorado public health system works to address and support priority issues such as climate change and behavioral health in ways that focus on the root causes of the issues and associated inequities, this advisory group is one place to engage different sectors and community members. Engaging diverse perspectives in the data collection, prioritization and decision-making activities will strengthen the validity, transparency and potential impact of the assessment and planning process in your communities. Use a health equity framework, like the Bay Area’s Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) Framework as a guide for which sectors and parts of your community you can engage in this advisory group. See Phase: 2 Engage Stakeholders for further guidance on engaging stakeholders throughout the CHAPS process.
Advisory group engagement
This is group is composed of strategically selected stakeholders who meet regularly to advise the assessment process, participate in prioritization, then develop and implement the public health improvement plan.
  • The internal/project management team should be a part of the advisory group, in addition to community organizations, civic leaders, elected officials and consumers.
  • Recruit members who can influence systems, provide a voice to underserved communities and/or champion priorities. New members can be added at any time. This type of committee usually meets monthly, bimonthly or quarterly, depending on the planned milestones and timelines.
  • The advisory group may range in size from a few people to 20 or more. If you have too many participants to reasonably manage, consider using topic-specific subcommittees, each with a representative to the larger steering committee.
  • A trained facilitator is useful to manage advisory group meetings, as this is where key decisions will be made.
"Step 3: Formalize partnership relationships"]In addition to or in lieu of an advisory group, you may choose to do this work in partnership with another entity. Partnering with either neighboring local public health agencies in your region or community organizations within your jurisdiction, such as non-profit organizations, other government agencies or hospitals, may be a more efficient or effective way to carry out the CHAPS process in your jurisdiction(s). Colorado local public health partnerships have sprung up around conducting assessments on shared populations and implementing shared, county-wide and region-wide public health improvement plans. As LPHAs develop strategic partnerships to address pressing priority and emerging issues, variations of partnership models are needed to tackle issues that public health can’t tackle by itself.

If this is the route you take, consider developing a legal agreement such as a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formally delineate roles, expectations, leadership and funding. Check out the Center for Public Health Sharing for guidance on government cross-jurisdictional sharing.

"Step 4: Develop project management work plan and timeline"]

‚ÄãA common time frame for the full CHAPS process is approximately 12 to 24 months. Use a timeline to outline how long you plan each phase to take. Use a work plan to outline more detailed activities, time frame, and person responsible for each phase.

"Step 5: Communicate with the Office of Planning, Partnerships and Improvement (OPPI)"]

Talk with the OPPI public health planner about
  • Timing and work plan. Requirements.
  • Partnerships.
  • Potential funding.
  • Data collection and sources.
  • Training and capacity building needs.
At any step in the process, connect with OPPI for guidance and support.

"Step 6: Familiarize yourself with background materials"]

Familiarize yourself and your partners with the:

"Step 7: Identify and review existing assessments and plans"]

Review existing assessments and plans to prevent duplication of effort, seek new stakeholders and partnerships, use data and priorities that have already been established, illuminate gaps and to help frame the scope of your process.
Here are recommended places to start:

"Step 8: Communicate with county or regional leadership and potential partners and staff"]

Determine which organizational leaders in the community will need to be involved in this process ahead of time so they can support it. Then, determine how you will continually engage them in the process. Those with approving authority, such as agency leadership and your local board of health, will be some of the first levels of leadership you will work with.
These leaders may include:
  • County administrator.
  • County commissioners.
  • Local board(s) of health.
  • Public health/environmental health agency staff.
  • Local hospital(s).
  • Non-profit entities, including those outside of public health.
  • Other county governmental agencies, including those outside of public health.
  • School district(s).
  • Service organizations.
Consider additional key supporters. These are stakeholders who may or may not be formally involved in the process but who need to know about it early, so they can be supportive.
The community health assessment and public health improvement plans are valuable efforts to talk about health and environmental issues in new and different ways in order to impact the changes you seek. How the results of the assessment and the prioritized issues are communicated, or framed, can have a bearing on how they are interpreted, believed, acted upon and supported. Phase 3 (Assess community), Phase 6 (Develop the plan) and Phase 7 (Implement the plan) all include recommendations to build a communications plan. Use those steps to take a closer look at communication methods and modes. Communicating the process and findings with leadership will be an initial test of your messaging, explanation and context that you provide along with data results.

"Step 9: Determine resource needs and develop a budget"]

The resources needed to complete assessment and planning activities will depend on
  • Size of the community(ies).
  • Amount of ‚Äúin-kind‚Äù resources (i.e. donated time, money, supplies, space, etc.).
  • How extensive the assessment and planning process needs to be, based on what‚Äôs already available.
Identify key positions and personnel needs in relationship to current staff resources and the scope of your process.
  • A single staff member may be used to fill more than one position and a consultant may also carry out the functions of a position (facilitation, data analysis, strategic planning).
  • Review sample job descriptions - Links coming in 2019.
    • Project Manager Position Description
    • Health Planner Position Description
    • Facilitator Position Description
Develop a budget that includes the following.
  • Identify operational resource needs to carry out all phases of CHAPS. Note which are provided in-kind vs. those that need funding. Examples include
    • Meeting space.
    • Equipment (laptop, projector, conferencing capabilities).
    • Supplies for meetings (flip charts, markers).
    • Travel funding (mileage reimbursement to promote participation).
    • Funding for producing a printable and/or online version of the community health assessment and public health improvement plan.
    • Funding for community engagement processes.
    • Staff training and capacity building if they are new to their role.
  • Consider resource needs for monitoring and evaluating the impact of your plans. Contact state agencies, other LPHAs, or other community organizations who might be needed to provide data or technical assistance for the evaluation early in the process.
  • Determine if there are community partners who might also benefit from a public health improvement process and may be willing to contribute resources. Such as Nonprofit hospitals: required to complete a community health assessment every 3 years. Community partners: may contribute staff time, supplies, equipment, meeting space. Public Health or Nursing Students: student project contributions.
  • Download a Sample CHAPS Budget. - Links coming in 2019.


"Locally developed resources"]Coming soon!