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Integrating MAPP with Other National Initiatives: Questions and Answers


If you have additional questions, contact MAPP staff members at and they will either answer your questions or connect you with a MAPP Mentor.

Can other assessments be integrated into the MAPP process?
Yes, MAPP is a flexible process that should be tailored to the needs of the community; it can be incorporated into the other MAPP assessments.

For example, one MAPP user integrated a United Way assessment into the MAPP process and found it beneficial as it brought more partners to the table, resulting in a broader health report that was given to the community, which increased the visibility of public health issues.

What is the link between MAPP and the National Public Health Performance Standards Program (NPHPSP)?
The local public health system assessment (LPHSA) is one of the assessments within the MAPP tool. MAPP includes three other assessments to ensure that community health improvement plans address the strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities that exist in the community. NPHPSP looks at how the system is functioning; MAPP demonstrates how it can improve to better address the communities'' public health priorities.

After completing the NPHPSP, MAPP is a means to address systems performance improvement against a backdrop of the system''s public health priorities. MAPP is one approach to interpreting performance standards data within the broader context of their communities'' public health needs and strengths. Using NPHPSP within MAPP ensures broad-based involvement in the performance assessment process. To learn more about the relationship between NPHPSP and MAPP, click here.

How do I shift from the completing the local instrument of the National Public Health Performance Standards Program (NPHPSP) to MAPP?
The MAPP process begins by having the performance standards partners review the outcomes to determine who else needs to be at the table. In the MAPP process, this would be the Organizing for Success and Partnership Development phases. The challenge is to keep them engaged throughout the MAPP process.

What is the Voluntary National Accreditation for state and local public health departments, and how does it relate to MAPP and the NPHPSP?
Voluntary National Accreditation for state and local public health departments, led by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is designed to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of state and local public health departments. While the program is being developed, local health departments can take steps to enhance health department capacity and engage in continuous quality improvement to prepare for accreditation.

Local health departments (LHDs) across the country have applied several complementary tools to measure and improve performance:

  • Operational Definition of a Functional Local Health Department (Operational Definition);
  • MAPP; and
  • National Public Health Performance Standards Program (NPHPSP).

These tools can be used alone or together for performance measurement and quality improvement purposes. To learn more about the relationship between MAPP, NPHPSP, and accreditation and how to leverage MAPP and NPHPSP toward accreditation preparation, click here.

What is the Operational Definition, and how does it relate to MAPP and the NPHPSP?
The Operational Definition of a Functional Local Health Department (Operational Definition) defines what everyone can reasonably expect from governmental local health departments. It comprises standards that describe LHD functions—as framed around the Ten Essential Public Health Services—and it has been recommended as the framework for LHD accreditation standards. LHDs will improve performance and build capacity as they demonstrate achievement of the standards. To support application of the Operational Definition, a prototype set of measurements have been created that demonstrate how LHDs might meet the standards and hold themselves uniformly accountable to their constituencies. The measurements drew heavily from the NPHPSP local instrument and existing state-based accreditation and related programs, suggesting that any LHD currently using either may be well positioned to gauge the extent to which the LHD is aligned with future accreditation standards and indicators.

MAPP can complement the application of the Operational Definition.

  • Operational Definition Standard #1
    • MAPP specifically supports efforts to monitor health status and includes a community health status assessment component.
  • Operational Definition Standard #4
    • MAPP is a based on working with the community in developing a comprehensive strategic plan.
  • Operational Definition Standard #5
    • MAPP is a planning tool.

The NPHPSP, also called the local public health system assessment within MAPP, assesses the capacity of the local public health system to conduct the 10 essential public health services. As complementary tools, the Operational Definition articulates the LHD''s role, and the NPHPSP assists the LHD in its role as the backbone of the local public health system. In addition, the NPHPSP assists the LHDs in the "assurance" functions described in the Operational Definition, such that the NPHPSP helps the LHD and system partners identify who is doing what, where there are gaps, and where there are overlaps and inefficiencies in services. MAPP can augment these efforts as a quality improvement tool to engage the community in determining how best to strengthen areas of weakness that are identified.

What is APEXPHand how does it compare with MAPP?
APEXPH was developed to be used voluntarily by local health officials to assess the organization and management of the health department, provide a framework for working with community members and other organizations in assessing the health status of the community, and establish the leadership role of the health department in the community. MAPP advanced the thinking behind APEXPH and shifted the focus from the health department to the community and local public health system. Launched in 2001, MAPP differs from APEX in five fundamental ways:

  1. APEX builds LHD leadership. MAPP builds LHD leadership, but also promotes community responsibility for the health of the public.
  2. APEX assesses LHD capacity for delivering public health services, whereas MAPP assesses capacity of entire local public health system.
  3. APEX focuses on operational planning, while MAPP provides a framework for strategic planning.
  4. APEX focuses specifically on health status, while MAPP focuses on health status, community perceptions, forces of change, and local public health system capacities.
  5. APEX develops plans to address needs, while MAPP strategically matches needs, resources, ideas, and actions.

For more information about MAPP and APEXPH, click here for a fact sheet about the connection between MAPP and APEXPH.

What is the difference, similarity, or connection between MAPP and PACE EH?
PACE EH and MAPP are sister tools that build on the foundations of community ownership, focus on the need for assessment in planning, and look at a broad definition of public health. PACE EH is specifically tailored to address environmental health issues. For more information about MAPP and PACE EH, click here for a PowerPoint presentation and fact sheet about the connection between MAPP and PACE EH.

What is PATCH, and how does MAPP compare?

PATCH, Planned Approach to Community Health, is a process that enables members of a community to plan, implement, and evaluate programs designed to reduce disease in their community. The overall goal of PATCH is to reduce the prevalence of modifiable risk factors for the leading causes of preventable illness, death, disability, and injury. The tool may be used to identify and address whatever health priorities a community selects or to address a pre-selected health priority, such as cardiovascular disease, or health priorities of a particular population, such as those associated with older adults.

Both MAPP and PATCH are:

  • Community-based;
  • Data driven; and
  • Aim to increase community capacity.

PATCH is a community health assessment and MAPP is a community health improvement process with a broad definition of health.

  • PATCH can be employed as a generic planning/implementation process, but it is primarily geared toward chronic disease prevention and health promotion programs.
  • PATCH is not a system-based approach and does not go very far in identifying and addressing gaps and redundancies in services between partners. MAPP includes the NPHPSP and is able to connect community needs and assess the capacity to address the Ten Essential Public Health Services (EPHS).
  • PATCH uses a typical health assessment approach with prescribed data categories, which can make it difficult to ensure that the assessment data gathered is data relevant to the interests and needs of the community.
  • PATCH does not use the 10 EPHS framework.

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