Phase 4: Mendocino, CA Vignette
Identifying Strategic Issues
On January 10, 2003, the Mendocino County Department of Public Health held its First Annual Rural Challenge Conference in Ukiah, CA, to energize their community around the Strategic Issue Identification and Action Planning processes of MAPP. The conference allowed 200 community leaders, representing a multitude of private and public sectors, to collaborate on improving the quality of life in Mendocino County.
In the months leading up to the conference, Mendocino County hosted several data forums to highlight and discuss the implications of data summarized from the Rural Challenge Assessment 2002 and lay the foundation for the rural challenge conference, in which participants would designate focus areas for improvement and create relevant action plans. At each data forum, assessment data was discussed in a structured dialogue to find common themes and principles for quality of life improvement. The themes and principles were refined to create the following two documents:
The rural challenge conference represented a kick-off point for Mendocino County's strategic issue identification and action planning processes. Using the common themes document developed in the data forums, conference participants self-selected into one of six focal areas. Each breakout group was guided through a mini-action planning process that included steps focused on defining results, identifying barriers to achieving results, and creating action steps to achieve in six months.
Since the conference, many of the action teams have reconvened independently to begin implementing their plans. The Mendocino County Department of Public Health has convened meetings of the action team liaisons to ensure that the groups maintain open communication and avoid duplication of efforts. The health department provides technical assistance to the groups to sustain the momentum of the strategic planning process in Mendocino County.