Phase 4: San Antonio, TX Vignette
Identifying Strategic Issues
The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District began phase four, Identifying Strategic Issues, in October 2002 and completed it in December 2002. For this phase, the MAPP Core Planning Team of 12 was expanded to a full community workgroup with more than 100 individuals invited to participate. The effort was renamed Alliance for Community Health in San Antonio and Bexar County to develop local interest and to indicate that the process was moving quickly toward a collaborative action cycle. The participants represented a variety of agencies such as hospitals, clinics, community-based organizations, schools, churches, and other entities that contribute significantly to preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting physical and mental health.
The first step of phase four was to organize a meeting of the alliance to present the results of the four MAPP Assessments. During this meeting, the 60 participants received copies of written reports from all of the assessments and surveys and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District displayed several posters summarizing the findings of each of the assessments. San Antonio Metropolitan Health District staff delivered detailed presentations on the findings from each of the assessments.
The second step was to reconvene the alliance to begin identifying the strategic issues. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District invited facilitators from United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County to conduct the meetings. The facilitators worked together with staff from the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District to develop the agenda activities, based on the MAPP process. During the first meeting, the facilitators helped the alliance compile a list of key challenges to overcome in order for any community health planning effort to succeed.
On December 10, 2002, more than 60 members of the alliance met again with United Way facilitators for a five-hour work session. In the morning, the group compiled a list of assets for the alliance to draw from to accomplish the community vision and values. In the afternoon, the alliance developed a list of strategic issues to address in a strategic community health improvement plan. The summary posters were displayed throughout the room at both meetings.
Both the November and December meetings were facilitated using group facilitation methods from ToP® Technology of Participation. (Information on ToP® facilitation and consulting services can be found at http://www.ica-usa.org/index.html.) The ToP® techniques helped the alliance reach consensus when identifying the strategic issues, key challenges, and assets. The success of phase four can be attributed to the effectiveness of the ToP® techniques and facilitators, and the dedication of many public health partners in the alliance. The report from the November and December meetings can be found at http://www.sanantonio.gov/health/mapp/overview.asp, under the heading "Identify Strategic Issues."