Accreditation Underscores the Value of a Collaborative CHA Process at DuPage County Health Department
by Mary E. Kirk, MS, RD, LDN
DuPage County Health Department in Wheaton, Illinois, started looking at best practice models for its community health assessment (CHA) in 2010. According to the literature, a collective impact model had great potential and PHAB requirements supported the value of a collaborative CHA process. Implementation of a collective model approach ensures broader ownership among partners and drives accountability in evaluation.
In August 2013, the DuPage County Health Department joined with other community leaders to form “Impact DuPage,” a county-wide initiative that challenges partners to consider the power of a collective impact approach. To achieve this, Impact DuPage engages existing stakeholder networks in a coordinated approach to ongoing community needs assessment, resulting in data-driven solutions to address county priorities, align resources, and improve population level outcomes via a community health improvement plan (CHIP).
Impact DuPage partners are community leaders and organizations working together to determine community needs and priorities that improve the well-being of the DuPage County community. In the midst of health care reform, state and federal fiscal crises, and an increased demand for services, DuPage County Partners are aware of the need to advance collaborative efforts to address community needs.
Impact DuPage established the following goals: Increase the visibility of community needs; anticipate and manage change through centralized data collection and analysis; engage the community and create broad, multi-sectoral ownership for issues impacting DuPage County residents; leverage local funding to strategically and collaboratively address priorities; and inform and define the legislative agenda.
PHAB requirements underscore the value of a collaborative CHA process, strengthening DuPage County Health Department’s commitment to participating in Impact DuPage. In addition, PHAB CHA/CHIP standards were used to inform and shape the Impact DuPage assessment and plan, ensuring a high quality and collaborative process.
Through the Impact DuPage website, organizations across DuPage County have the opportunity to participate in shared measurement of community needs and collectively evaluate outcome measures related to county priorities.
As a result of accreditation, there is a greater focus on broader accountability among partners. Additionally, the concurrent pursuit of PHAB accreditation underscores the value of a more robust action plan. By gathering feedback from a variety of stakeholders regarding community needs and quality of life in DuPage County, Impact DuPage has been successful in creating an action plan that improves how we work together to advance the well-being of the community. The Impact DuPage website serves as a central location for information about the quality of life of the DuPage County community. For more information visit the Impact DuPage website at www.impactdupage.org.
DuPage County Health Department in Wheaton, Illinois, was awarded national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board on June 18, 2014.
About the author: Mary E. Kirk, MS, RD, LDN, is Quality and Compliance Coordinator at DuPage County Health Department in Wheaton, Illinois. Contact her at (630) 221-7127 or via email at [email protected].