Phase 6: Chicago, IL Vignette
The Action Cycle
Following the development of 20 strategies and the completion of the strategic plan, the Chicago Partnership prepared for implementation. At its December 1999 meeting, members agreed to begin implementation with a focus on two strategies viewed as fundamental to strengthening the public health system: 1) the development of a network of community-based coalitions, and 2) the creation of a coordinated citywide policy agenda for public health in Chicago. While no formal prioritization process was used, the decision for this initial focus was influenced by a couple of factors. First, in a highly diverse city the size of Chicago, it was not possible for the Chicago Partnership to truly be representative of all communities; the partnership believed that additional community participation was essential and that an organized structure for sustaining this participation was needed. Additionally, the partnership had submitted a funding request to the Kellogg Foundation to initiate work on this strategy. The second area of focus — the policy agenda — was selected, in part, because it represented an area where most partners had an investment and stake and because the work could be done with no additional resources — an important consideration.
To organize for this work, the partnership established two committees: the Committee on Community Partnerships and the Policy Committee. At the initial meeting of each committee, members identified and discussed additional organizations and/or individuals whose participation was considered important to the success of the effort. For example, citywide and other large agencies with resources in multiple communities (such as the city's workforce development office and a community health ministry) were invited to serve on the Committee on Community Partnerships. Policy representatives from a range of agencies, including labor and adolescent health, were invited to serve on the Policy Committee. With membership expanded, the efforts of each committee are currently focused on the development of more specific action plans, including committee member assignments and timelines.
A third committee, the Implementation Committee, comprised solely of formal partnership members, was convened to consider the feasibility of the 18 strategies not being addressed. At the initial meetings, members rated the strategies on levels of need and feasibility and are in the process of making recommendations to the partnership as to where effort should be placed next.
Two additional committees will be formed by the end of the year. A Coordinating Committee will consider the operations of the partnership, including membership issues and the work of the various committees. A working group will also be formed to promote the partnership and its strategic plan.
The project planner at the Department of Public Health staffs the committees. Additional in-kind staff support is provided to the Policy Committee by the department's director of policy and legislative affairs.
Evaluation activities, at this point, consist of monitoring implementation of strategies. It is anticipated that evaluation plans will need to be developed separately as each strategy is addressed.