Roadmap for State Program Planning: Implement Program

Implement a Program

Build Capacity

Capacity building can be defined as “the development of sustainable skills, structures, resources and commitment to health improvement to prolong and multiply health gains many times over.”

Capacity-building activities conducted by Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (HDSP) funded states include—

  • Developing an organizational unit with appropriate staff.
  • Developing and maintaining partnerships.
  • Providing training and technical assistance for partners and staff.
  • Enhancing evaluation.

What to Do

Key Capacity Building

Steps to consider when organizing capacity building activities include—

1. Identify existing capacities.

Before building capacities, identify existing internal and external skills, structures, and resources. Effective capacity building will link partners who have content and context expertise with the program. Assess gaps in capacity as areas for future development or use to identify new partners.

2. Develop trust.

Capacity building is supported by trust, mutual respect, and commitment. These qualities are at the heart of successful initiatives.

3. Be responsive to context.

Context refers to the physical, economic, political, organizational and cultural environments surrounding state HDSP program efforts. Context can have a negative or positive impact on a program. Be alert and ready to respond to changes in context. Context is also an important consideration during program evaluation.

4. Tailor strategies.

Capacity building is an approach to development, not a set of pre-determined activities. For example, a newly established program will have different capacity building needs than an established one. Consider the maturity of the program when planning capacity-building activities.

5. Develop integrated strategies.

To be most effective, capacity building efforts should focus on a number of levels (e.g., individual, group, or organizations) and use a combination of strategies. These strategies may include training, technical assistance, leveraging resources, and mentoring. Strategies to enhance leadership, partnerships, data use, communication, evaluation, and planning are needed.

How to Do It

Organizational development activities include examining and enhancing working procedures and communication processes to ensure they support effective team performance.

Workforce development underpins all other capacity building activities. Your “HDSP workforce” includes state and local health department staff as well as partners. The 2007 Program Announcement [PDF–43K] expects states to provide training and technical assistance to the HDSP workforce in the following areas—

  • Population-based interventions.
  • Policy and systems change strategies.
  • Heart disease and stroke and related risk factors.
  • Prevention.
  • Communication.
  • Epidemiology.
  • Cultural competence.
  • Data use.
  • Program planning.
  • Evaluation.

A training needs assessment will help determine the knowledge, skills, abilities and the most appropriate form of training or technical assistance needed to build capacity of the HDSP workforce. Needs assessment resources are available in the Tools and Resources sections of the Roadmap.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) are—

  • Knowledge is an understanding of facts or principles relating to a particular subject area.
  • Skill is the application of knowledge.
  • Ability is capacity to apply knowledge and skills.

Conducting a Training Needs Assessment

The steps below will assist you in conducting a training needs assessment.

Step One: Conduct a KSA Gap Analysis

The “gap” is the difference between where you are now and where you want to be. The questions to ask in a KSA gap analysis include—

  • What KSAs are needed to successfully implement this program?
  • What KSAs do staff and partners currently possess?
  • What KSAs need to be developed?

Step Two: Prioritize the KSAs

Review each KSA in terms of the importance and urgency to successful implementation of the plan. Consider possible consequences of not providing the training or technical assistance.

Step Three: Identify Possible Solutions

There are many ways to provide training or enhance the KSAs for staff and partners. State and local health departments may offer specific courses and training opportunities. Various websites provide information about online courses, web-casts, self-study courses, and traditional classroom training opportunities (Refer to Training ). Academic institutions, professional organizations, and voluntary sector agencies hold conferences and seminars that can also enhance knowledge and skills.

Step Four: Analyze Costs and Time Associated with Each Solution

Decide what solutions are affordable, how long it will take to develop the desired KSAs, and who should receive the training.

Step Five: Select the Most Appropriate Solution to Meet the Need

The needs assessment can help determine—

  • The most appropriate delivery method for the training.
  • Mentoring.
  • Coaching.
  • Academic courses, either in the classroom or online.
  • Assigning new responsibilities.
  • Engaging staff and partners in new activities.
  • Time available to attend training.
  • The type of training method needed (e.g., skill-based, requiring hands on practice).
  • Numbers of individuals requiring training.

Develop and Implement a Training Plan

Develop a training plan after you have identified the training needs of staff and partners. The plan should include—

  • Training topics.
  • Method of training.
  • Timeframe.
  • Target audience.
  • Needed resources.
  • Method of evaluation.

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