Phase 2: East Tennessee Region Vignette
Overcoming the challenges posed by implementing the MAPP framework in the 15-county region served by the East Tennessee Region (ETR) of the Tennessee Department of Health has required a strong emphasis on community engagement. A regional MAPP steering committee, composed of community members and staff who support local MAPP implementation, was formed in 2002 to address these challenges. The committee went through an organizing and visioning process that identified comprehensive and inclusive community engagement as the key to successful MAPP implementation.
In partnership with the regional health council (advisory body to the ETR), and with funding from the East Tennessee Baptist Health System, the MAPP steering committee convened community members from throughout East Tennessee for "Expedition to a Healthier Community: A MAPP through the Jungle to Community Engagement and Health Improvement." The expedition was a way to energize communities to reconnect with a health planning framework, and to begin engaging community members in a visioning process.
The expedition theme was inspired by the event location: the Knoxville Zoo. ETR staff rallied their creative energies by decorating the room with bamboo grass and animal masks. They also developed "survival kits" for participants that included bug spray, compasses, and lip balm, as well as MAPP mouse pads, brochures, and highlighters.
The day focused on creative interaction. Participants were assigned to small groups, each with a facilitator. Each group selected someone to record their ideas on a flip chart and someone to report to the larger group. The morning was spent in pair and small group dialogue around a set of questions exploring participant values, successful experiences, and a vision for a future of community engagement in creating conditions for health. An interactive presentation of the MAPP process kicked off the afternoon. Small group dialogue in the afternoon focused on practical ideas for local MAPP implementation and on next steps for individuals and for the group. Some of the next steps identified included bringing information about MAPP back to local health councils, developing a packet of local resources to support MAPP implementation, and meeting again within six months.
Overall, participants indicated on the evaluation that they improved their understanding of MAPP and that MAPP could benefit their communities. Several participants volunteered to be contacted for involvement in local or regional MAPP implementation, and all but one responded with the intention of taking information about MAPP back to their local community. An overall success, the participant contributions at the expedition will add to the MAPP visioning process for the region and will serve to initiate local MAPP expeditions.