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Phases 1 and 2: Questions and Answers


If these questions do not address your concerns, or if you have additional questions, contact MAPP staff at mapp@naccho.org and they will either answer your questions or connect you with a MAPP Mentor.

How can I get partners with financial backing involved?
One community tied companies'' mission statements in an effort to get them on board. For example, if a company''s mission statement included improving the quality of life for people, community leaders met with the company to explain how financial backing would improve the quality of life for residents. The leaders also showed how they would follow through with their plans.

What specific methods/tools can I use for the visioning process?
One option is to use the MAPP visioning document and tailor it to your goals. Distribute surveys through your partner organizations, as well as to specific sectors of the community: religious, business, social services, education, and others. Reading and discussing sample vision statements may also be useful as you begin the Visioning phase.

Another alternative is to perform one-on-one surveys with the man on the street to capture those not generally in the mainstream of public health work. Survey results can be used to create a vision statement for the community.

Can engaging the broad community in visioning in the early stages create unrealistic expectations?
Northern Kentucky residents identified a broad, overarching vision for a healthy community: "A healthy community is one that is safe, knowledgeable and engaged, nurturing, diverse, tolerant and has access to healthcare. A healthy community has a strong local public health system that includes planning and policy development, shared leadership, accountability, response to challenges, and protects and promotes the health and well being of neighborhoods and their residents." Some people narrowly identified safer streets and neighborhoods, but all wanted to live in safe communities; there was no problem including the issue of safe communities in their vision. They have not yet achieved their vision, but they are working toward it. It is a vision that everyone can own.

What types of groups should we target?
Individuals who are active in their careers and communities. Seek a wide cross-section of the community, including representation from minority populations. Examples of groups include residents from public and private healthcare, hospitals, schools, businesses, universities, social service, government, churches, and environmental agencies.

How do you get people who are already involved in other committees to participate?
One strategy is to delineate committee member responsibilities, as well as the health department''s role in the MAPP process. Stress that the MAPP plan will be implemented throughout your community. People are generally interested in participating; however, they need reassurance that their time and energies will not be wasted.

How do we initially approach people and/or agencies?
Northern Kentucky initially sent out letters of invitation, informing people that their goal was to gain input from their residents to address the community''s major public health issues and to build a healthier community. They explained that the process was developed by the Community Health Committee and NACCHO—stressing the importance of the tool. They followed up with phone calls or with one-on-one meetings to further clarify the project.

Another option is to hold a mass orientation—invite people to an informational meeting to explain the MAPP process and your goal in using MAPP, then offer invitations to people to participate.

How do we get early buy-in without having to offer up-front benefits?
Stress that you are working on a plan to address health and infrastructure issues that would benefit all residents now and in the years to come.

How do you retain members with conflicting agendas?
Everyone comes to the table with an agenda. Openly acknowledge priority issues and try to incorporate everyone''s interests into your process. A skilled facilitator who can keep your group on track and moving forward will help your participants focus on your overall objective.

How much will it cost to initially set up the process and sustain it over time?
Northern Kentucky employed three full-time staff in their Planning Unit; however, two were half-time with MAPP. Their budget was approximately $100,000/year during the three-year project. They received their funding through unrestricted local taxes to run their planning programs. In the MAPP implementation phase, they have been using one full-time employee.

What are some pros and cons of general community meetings versus meetings with only professionals in public health, and the pros and cons of large meetings versus meetings with a smaller steering committee?
In Northern Kentucky, their Community Health Committee (CHC) was the hub for the MAPP process. When they needed to form MAPP subcommittees, they expanded the participants to include more members of the public health system—essentially, experts in various fields dependent upon the focus of the subcommittee, as well as people with a particular interest in an area. Going to the general community gave them the opportunity to help them feel a part of the process. It is obviously much easier to work with a smaller group, but they needed a broader scope of ideas and perspectives as they moved through various aspects of the MAPP process. In addition, communicating with and listening to the community-at-large gave Northern Kentucky the opportunity to inform its community about the MAPP process and their goals in using this tool.

How should I best orient my MAPP team to the process?
Send out a few MAPP materials in advance of your initial meeting, and devote an entire meeting to teaching the group about MAPP and everyone''s role in the process. PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and dialogue are good vehicles for communication. Additional clarification can be offered through phone calls or one-on-one meetings with staff.

How many staff members are adequate for the projects?
An agency should focus on skills needed, rather than on the number of staff needed. If you have staff with good facilitation skills, as well as organizational and presentation skills, you may not need to add staff to your process.

Is it advisable for a health agency to form a community advisory group within the town?
It may be required by the community, or by various communities within the local public health system, but it may not be necessary in all cases. Talk to your partners at the agency level and your community members. If trust is low, creating a town-level community advisory group may be essential to success.

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