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Council District Reports: A Project Manager’s Perspective

Posted By Anna Oberste, Friday, April 01, 2016
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2016

Managing the development and dissemination of 11 City Council District health reports was my first SHINE fellow assignment at Denver Public Health (DPH). Reports first created in 2011 brought community health assessment findings to the individual council districts. Being well received and promoting dialogue with policy makers, the same process was repeated with 2014 community health assessment findings. These 2015 council district reports focused on three main themes: the importance of place, prevention, and health equity.

Spanning nine months (July 2015-March 2016), the report creation process involved three phases: definition and planning, data analysis and information development, and dissemination and assessment. Each phase involved meetings with content experts, data presentation and design experts, and work group approval.

First steps included charter creation to establish stakeholder roles and expectations. To track the project, weekly and monthly status reports and timeline updates were created to facilitate problem solving at various project stages. Data analysis sources included: Medicaid enrollment, electronic health records, and calculated BMI screening. Four high-priority health topics were analyzed: access to healthcare, childhood obesity, tobacco use among young adults, and adult depression prevalence. Once analytic approaches and content were approved, we created a dissemination plan.

Eleven district reports were disseminated to council district members and the public. In addition, a website was created, containing links to information and suggesting programs to assist with addressing these health concerns. Each council district member has a meeting arranged with the director of Denver Public Health to discuss health concerns in the report and to identify opportunities to take action.

Denver Public Health believes local health data can inspire action. Community health assessments, health impact assessments, and geographically targeted reports used to engage community partners, healthcare providers, and policy makers permit collaborative health improvement efforts.
Lessons Learned
By clearly defining roles and responsibilities, we increased the efficiency of the collaborative processes. Communication has been key and different communication modes work better for different people. Timelines need to be flexible to adjust to obstacles and competing demands by subject matter experts and analytic and design staff. Learning to adjust schedules and anticipate delays helped me manage my own, and others’ expectations, creating a more relaxed environment. Using project management tools permitted me to stay organized and identify problems earlier. The DPH team’s comments and recommendations helped provide valuable insight which positively impacted the project to completion.
Anna Oberste PharmD, MPH, BCNSP is a Health System Integration Program (HSIP) fellow at Denver Public Health. To learn more about mentoring an HSIP fellow or applying to be one, visit Participate in CSTE’s Public Health Law Subcommittee to engage in related national activities.

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