Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP)

Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) is a community-driven strategic planning process for improving community health. Facilitated by public health leaders, this framework helps communities apply strategic thinking to prioritize public health issues and identify resources to address them. MAPP is not an agency-focused assessment process; rather, it is an interactive process that can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately the performance of local public health systems.

You can access the MAPP Network here to converse with community partners and meet fellow MAPP members.

Getting Started

Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) is a community-driven strategic planning tool for improving community health. Facilitated by public health leaders, this tool helps communities apply strategic thinking to prioritize public health issues and identify resources to address them. MAPP is not an agency-focused assessment tool; rather, it is an interactive process that can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately the performance of local public health systems.

Go through the modules below to learn about the six MAPP phases and get started.

The first phase of MAPP involves two critical and interrelated activities: organizing the planning process and developing the planning partnership. The purpose of this phase is to structure a planning process that builds commitment, engages participants as active partners, uses participants' time well, and results in a plan that can be realistically implemented.

Recommended Participants

Core Support Team — is responsible for most of the work in this phase as it prepares for the MAPP process and recruits participants.

MAPP Committee — is recruited and selected during this phase. The committee, which will guide and oversee the MAPP process, should be broadly representative of the community and the local public health system.

Broad Community Involvement — participants should be recruited as invitations are extended for the MAPP Committee. The community should also be informed of the upcoming MAPP process and opportunities for involvement that will occur throughout the planning process.

Overview of the Steps for the Organize for Success/Partnership Development Phase

  1. Determine the necessity of undertaking the MAPP process. Identify benefits and potential barriers, as well as other community initiatives that should link to MAPP. 
  2. Identify and organize participants. Key organizations and individuals give the process legitimacy by offering strong initial support and providing the range of expertise necessary to develop the substance of the plan. Participants should be organized in a manner that shows how activities will be accomplished and clarifies roles and responsibilities.
  3. Design the planning process by answering the questions: (a) What will the process entail? (b) How long will it take? (c) What will the results be and how will we know when we are finished? and (d) Who will perform each task?
  4. Assess resource needs, such as meeting space, travel costs, report production and printing, and consultant fees. Secure commitments.
  5. Conduct a readiness assessment to determine whether all of the elements are in place for a successful planning process.
  6. Determine how the process will be managed by developing tools such as a work plan and guiding assumptions.


Visioning, the second phase of MAPP, guides the community through a collaborative, creative process that leads to a shared community vision and common values.

Vision and values statements provide focus, purpose, and direction to the MAPP process so that participants collectively achieve a shared vision for the future. A shared community vision provides an overarching goal for the community—a statement of what the ideal future looks like. Values are the fundamental principles and beliefs that guide a community-driven planning process.

Because visioning is done at the beginning of the MAPP process, it offers a useful mechanism for convening the community and building enthusiasm for the process, setting the stage for planning, and providing a common framework throughout subsequent phases.

Recommended Participants

Core Support Team — designs the visioning process, works with the facilitator, prepares for the visioning sessions, records the results of the session, and drafts the resulting vision and values statements.

MAPP Committee — oversees the visioning process and solicits community participation.

Broad Community Involvement — is included in the visioning sessions. This sets the tone for broad participation throughout the MAPP process.

Overview of the Steps for the Visioning Phase

  1. Identify other visioning efforts by revisiting the inventory of earlier community initiatives. Make connections as needed.
  2. Design the visioning process and select a facilitator. The facilitator should possess strong facilitation skills and be perceived as neutral and fair.
  3. Conduct the visioning process. Participants should identify their shared vision by looking five to 10 years into the future. Also address the identification of common values.
  4. Formulate the vision statement and common values based on the results of the sessions.


Each assessment will yield important information for improving community health, but the value of the four MAPP Assessments is multiplied by considering the findings as a whole. Disregarding any of the assessments will leave participants with an incomplete understanding of the factors that affect the local public health system and, ultimately, the health of the community.

What are the four MAPP Assessments?

The four MAPP Assessments—the third phase of MAPP—and the issues they address are described below:

  1. The Community Themes and Strengths Assessment provides a deep understanding of the issues that residents feel are important by answering the questions: "What is important to our community?" "How is quality of life perceived in our community?" and "What assets do we have that can be used to improve community health?"
  2. The Local Public Health System Assessment (LPHSA) focuses on all of the organizations and entities that contribute to the public''s health. The LPHSA answers the questions: "What are the components, activities, competencies, and capacities of our local public health system?" and "How are the Essential Services being provided to our community?"
  3. The Community Health Status Assessment identifies priority community health and quality of life issues. Questions answered include: "How healthy are our residents?" and "What does the health status of our community look like?"
  4. The Forces of Change Assessment focuses on identifying forces such as legislation, technology, and other impending changes that affect the context in which the community and its public health system operate. This answers the questions: "What is occurring or might occur that affects the health of our community or the local public health system?" and "What specific threats or opportunities are generated by these occurrences?"


During this phase of the MAPP process, participants develop an ordered list of the most important issues facing the community. Strategic issues are identified by exploring the convergence of the results of the four MAPP Assessments and determining how those issues affect the achievement of the shared vision.

Recommended Participants

Core Support Team — compiles the results and prepares for MAPP Committee discussions. Rather than using a core support team, some communities may designate a subcommittee to carry out these activities.

MAPP Committee — reviews the results of the four MAPP Assessments and identifies strategic issues.

Overview of the Steps for the Strategic Issues Phase

  1. Identify potential strategic issues by reviewing the findings from the Visioning process and the four MAPP Assessments.
  2. Arrive at an understanding of why certain issues are strategic by considering the convergence of assessment findings.
  3. Determine the consequences of not addressing certain issues by considering the urgency or immediacy of the issue.
  4. Consolidate overlapping or related issues into a manageable number. The final list should include no more than 12 issues.
  5. Arrange issues in priority order by considering how they relate to one another.


During the Formulate Goals and Strategies phase of the MAPP Process, participants take the strategic issues identified in the previous phase and formulate goal statements related to those issues. They, then, identify broad strategies for addressing issues and achieving goals related to the community's vision. The result is the development and adoption of an interrelated set of strategy statements.

Recommended Participants

MAPP Committee— identifies and develops goals and strategies; adopts final strategy statements.

Core Support Team or Subcommittees— explores specific issues or strategies on an "as needed" basis.

Overview of the Steps for the Goals/Strategies Phase

  1. Develop goals related to the vision and the identified strategic issues.
  2. Generate a range of strategy alternatives to address the goals and help the community achieve its vision. Take current strategies and activities into consideration when developing new and innovative approaches.
  3. Consider barriers to implementation, such as insufficient resources, lack of community support, legal or policy impediments, or technological difficulties.
  4. Explore implementation details by considering concrete actions that need to be taken, the organizations and individuals that need to be involved, the resources required, and the proposed timeline for implementation.
  5. Select strategies by choosing among the alternatives. Once selected, adopt the strategies through formal or informal processes.
  6. Draft and adopt the planning report. Written documentation ensures consensus, provides a source of reference, and helps to set the stage for action planning and implementation.


The Action Cycle links three activities—Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation. Each of these activities builds upon the others in a continuous and interactive manner. While the Action Cycle is the final phase of MAPP, it is by no means the "end" of the process.

During this phase, the efforts of the previous phases begin to produce results, as the local public health system develops and implements an action plan for addressing priority goals and objectives. This is also one of the most challenging phases, as it may be difficult to sustain the process and continue implementation over time.

Recommended Participants

MAPP Committee — oversees the Action Cycle.

Subcommittees (and specific organizations where relevant) — oversee specific strategies and elements of the Action Cycle.

Broad community involvement — community residents and organizations not already involved should be recruited to participate in planning, implementation, and evaluation activities. The broader the participation, the more likely the process will be sustained.

Overview of the Steps for the Action Cycle Phase


  1. Organize for action by convening the necessary participants, establishing an oversight committee for implementation activities, and preparing for implementation.
  2. Develop realistic and measurable objectives related to each strategic goal and establish accountability by identifying responsible parties.
  3. Develop action plans aimed at achieving the outcome objectives and addressing the selected strategies.


  1. Review action plans looking for opportunities to coordinate and combine resources for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
  2. Implement and monitor the progress of the action plans.


  1. Prepare for evaluation by engaging stakeholders and describing the activities to be evaluated.
  2. Focus the evaluation design by selecting evaluation questions, the process for answering these questions, the methodology and plan for carrying out the evaluation, and a strategy for reporting results.
  3. Gather credible evidence that answers the evaluation questions. Justify the conclusions.
  4. Ensure that the results of the evaluation are used and shared with others. Celebrate the successes of the process.