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Section 15. The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Take Action Cycle

What is the Take Action Cycle?

___The Take Action cycle provides a way to transform information from County Health Rankings about your county’s status into action to improve your area’s health.

___The Take Action cycle has six steps

  • Work Together
  • Assess Needs & Resources
  • Focus on What’s Important
  • Choose Effective Policies & Programs
  • Act on What’s Important
  • Evaluate Actions

Why use the Take Action Cycle?

___Each component of the Take Action Cycle offers tailored guidance and tools for groups undertaking health improvement efforts

___The Take Action Cycle is designed with the knowledge that each community has different resources and a unique situation, and thus encourages starting at whatever point in the cycle is most relevant for your community

___The Take Action Cycle provides information on how to encourage diverse stakeholders to work towards the same goal

When should you use the Take Action Cycle?

___When you are starting an initiative

___When you are expanding an initiative

___When you are trying to improve an initiative

___Each step of the Take Action Cycle includes comprehensive guidance and links to specific tools, making it adaptable to your initiative’s needs at every stage

Who should use the Take Action Cycle?

___Stakeholders from a wide variety of sectors, including:

  • Business
  • Health care
  • Public health
  • Education
  • Government
  • Advocacy
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Non-profit organizations

___Anyone who cares about or is affected by the many factors that influence community health

How do you use the Take Action Cycle?

___The Take Action Cycle is a guide to transforming your vision of a healthy community into a reality, providing you with ways to use the information and resources you have to spur action and change

___Visit the Roadmaps to Health Action Center, and click on various components of the cycle for tailored tools and guidance.

___If you’re not sure where to begin, click on Getting Started, and answer some basic questions about your initiative to find the best place to start and the most relevant tools

___There are six phases of the Take Action Cycle

  • Work Together
    • Visit the Work Together section to determine how to engage people from diverse sectors who have an interest in community health
    • Develop vision and mission statements to guide your work
  • Assess Needs & Resources
    • Visit the Assess Needs & Resources section to determine where to direct your efforts
    • Get your County Snapshot by selecting your state and then your county from the Health Rankings section of the site
    • The County Health Rankings Data Drilldown Guide can help you interpret the data from your County Snapshot
    • Review the County Health Rankings model for additional information you might want to gather about your community
    • Brainstorm community assets, resources, and needs
    • Identify specific measures, or community-level indicators, that will answer your questions and help you determine a baseline to measure your progress against
  • Focus on What’s Important
    • Visit the Focus on What’s Important section for guidance on selecting priority issues to focus on
    • Have your group brainstorm priority issues
    • Solicit feedback from the community
    • Determine whether the issues you have selected fit with your criteria and the results of your community assessment
    • Come to a consensus on the priority issues that your initiative will address
  • Choose Effective Policies & Programs
    • Visit the Choose Effective Policies & Programs section to determine how best to address your priority issues
    • Research different programs and policies to determine which ones have been demonstrated to work in situations similar to yours
    • Visit What Works for Health to browse through a database of evidence-based programs and policies
    • Consider your community’s context and readiness for implementing specific programs or policies
  • Act on What’s Important
    • Visit the Act on What’s Important section for guidance on implementing your chosen program or policy
    • Define exactly what you want to achieve using a logic model, theory of change, strategy map, or similar tool
    • Determine who you want to influence, who your allies are, and who your opponents are
    • Use social media and other communication channels to spread your message
    • Create a specific action plan for implementing your program or policy
    • Make sure your goals are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-determined (SMART)
    • Create a thorough budget
    • Implement your program, continuing to monitor the process using the community-level indicators you chose previously
    • Communicate your progress to stakeholders, funders, and the community
    • Document your methods and strategies
    • Develop a long-term sustainability plan that addresses policies, partnerships, organizational strategies, communications plans, and funding
  • Evaluate actions
    • Visit the Evaluate Actions sections for guidance on using evaluation to improve your initiative
    • Evaluation should be conducted throughout the program, not just at the end
    • Evaluation can have several purposes
      • To gain insight (formative evaluation)
      • To improve a policy or program (process evaluation)
      • To evaluate program effects (impact, results, or outcome evaluation)
    • Determine who will do the evaluation
    • Using your initial plan, determine what goals you will evaluate and what indicators/measures you will use
      • Process measures are activities that take place during the initiative that help you determine how well things are going
      • Impact measures explain the overall impact that occurs as a result of your actions
      • Outcome measures highlight the changes that happen in the community as a result of the work done by your initiative
    • Once you have determined the indicators/measures you will use, choose where/how you will collect this data
    • Monitor progress toward your short-, medium- and long-term goals.
    • You can use your evaluation results to make recommendations for continuing, expanding, redesigning or abandoning your policy or program. Go back to your initial assessment and problem definition and determine whether your efforts are impacting the problem you set out to address.