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PACE EH, Wisconsin

Rock County Health Department Janesville, Wisconsin

Adapting the Methodology to fit Local Needs (Tasks 6–9)

The Rock County (WI) PACE EH project followed the guidelines established in the PACE EH document; however, it altered the sequence to fit the needs of the local project and the committee members. Tasks 1–5 were conducted sequentially, but Tasks 6–9 were completed for each of the approximately 30 priority environmental health issues on an issue by issue basis. The committee chose to focus on an identified priority issue, develop appropriate indicators, identify relevant standards, and complete an issue profile, all before beginning the process on the next priority issue. Typically, it was able to address Tasks 6–9 for any given issue in a single PACE EH meeting.

The Rock County PACE EH committee members found that the change in sequence expedited their overall PACE EH work and simultaneously invigorated the committee by organizing project work around the introduction and development of a new environmental health topic at each meeting. This alteration allowed the facilitators to take strategic advantage of key project volunteers. Committee members with expertise in specific environmental health issue areas were able to commit to a much smaller window of time.

The Rock County PACE EH facilitators also found that conducting Tasks 6–9 in this manner allowed them to develop a more complete picture of broad environmental health issues before marking any for elimination.

Benefits related to conducting Tasks 6–9 on an issue-by-issue basis:

  • Maintains team focus on one environmental health issue at a time;
  • Narrows focus time for guest speakers to contribute;
  • Works well for committee members unable to commit to every meeting;
  • Makes meetings more manageable;
  • Reduces the overall length of a PACE EH project;
  • Focuses on a single issue from data formulation to profile creation; and  
  • Lends itself to formulating potential action steps for each issue 

A specific obstacle the Rock County PACE EH team identified related to their adaptation of Tasks 6–9 is the recognition that more environmental health issues will be possible priorities for a longer period of time. For the Rock County team, this recognition resulted in a decision to establish a review of upcoming Tasks 10–12 for each issue carried through the PACE EH methodology.

The adaptations of the Rock County PACE EH team are a reminder that the PACE EH methodology offers a great deal of flexibility. Grouping Tasks 6–9 on an issue-by-issue basis better served variable time commitments of team members, limited availability of local environmental health experts, and meeting facilitation, and also laid the foundation for reliable ranking and prioritizing exercises.

Timothy Banwell