Phase 6: Peoria, IL Vignette
The Action Cycle
The Peoria City-County (IL) Health Department (PCCHD) serves approximately 130,000 people. PCHD has been active in both a community planning process (using IPLAN) and an organizational strategic planning process. Using the results of the organizational strategic planning process, PCCHD has implemented strategies using an interdisciplinary staff team approach since 1997.
The strategic planning participants included a committee of senior management and board of health members. After the strategic plan was finalized, other participants were brought in to help implement the strategies. Implementation was approached in a tiered fashion. Strategic initiative groups of cross-disciplinary voluntary teams, including division directors and other senior management, were convened for each strategy during the first year. The initiative groups gave updates to the board and helped set the stage for implementation. During the second year, middle managers became involved in the coordination role for each initiative group and some were added to the oversight committee for the process. Recently, other staff members throughout the health department have been invited to participate in the strategic initiative groups. Individuals rotate on and off each group, providing both fluidity and consistency to the membership.
During the third year, PCCHD was most active in implementing strategies. Each strategic initiative group was responsible for designing the actions needed and carrying them out. Implementation has occurred through a variety of means; for example, the teen pregnancy/smoking initiative group developed an awareness campaign. They administered a questionnaire for clinic clients about smoking and used the results to develop a referral system.
Discussions with PCCHD staff indicate that there is a greater sense of pride in jobs, feelings of empowerment to take initiative, greater energy throughout all levels of the agency, and more resource-sharing and cross-disciplinary work. Staff members indicate that, owing to the cross-disciplinary nature of the teams and the strategy issues, they have a better understanding of what other divisions do in PCCHD. PCCHD staff members also feel more connected to the community and their clients, and are more effective at their jobs. For example, environmental health staff members are now integrating more education into their regulatory duties. This helps businesses better understand the rationale behind regulations and helps them understand the role of PCCHD.
A cross-disciplinary and team approach to implementation has been very effective for PCCHD. Implementation has educated staff, built internal and external connections, and improved the effectiveness of the health department.