Story by Emily R. Frantz, organizational performance and strategy management director, Cobb-Douglas Public Health

Too often, organizational strategic plans become dusty and forgotten, never implemented into daily activities. At Cobb-Douglas Public Health (CDPH), the strategic plan is executed through the balanced scorecard and is an integral part of daily activities. Because the scorecard is a living document, it is actively fulfilling the CDPH mission of promoting and protecting the health and safety of the residents of Cobb and Douglas counties. CDPH is actively engaged in accomplishing their vision of becoming “an acknowledged leader among health departments in the southeastern United States,” as evidenced by several recent national awards.

In addition to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Award, CDPH recently received two other national awards. This past week, CDPH was notified that two of their National Association of City & County Health Officials (NACCHO) Model Practice submissions have been selected as promising and model practices.
NACCHO’s Model Practice Program was formed to honor and recognize the accomplishments of outstanding local health practices from and across the nation. Ultimately, the Model Practice Program seeks to compile outstanding practices in the form of a best practice compendium or reference library for other departments across the nation. The Practice Program has been in existence since 2003. Health departments may submit practices annually for consideration and if selected, may be deemed as a “model” or “promising” practice. For a practice to be considered as a “model” for other departments, it must demonstrate the local health department’s involvement/collaboration or role in the public health practice, innovation, responsiveness and an evaluation component.

CDPH’s Center for Organizational Performance & Strategy Management (OPSM) was awarded a “model” practice status by uniting their Mobilizing for Action through Planning & Partnerships (MAPP), Balanced Scorecard, and now, Community Transformation Grant (CTG) under the auspices of their Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) initiative, within the same organizational unit/Center. NACCHO recognizes and recommends that other health departments adopt CDPH’s organizational structure of grouping these activities under the same Center, as a way to align strategic activities, identify opportunities for innovation and efficiencies and to conserve precious resources to provide exponentially more value to the community.

Practices may also be designated a “promising” in practice if they are able to demonstrate the local health department’s role/collaboration, innovation and responsiveness, and data to support that the practice improves health outcomes. This year, CDPH’s Interactive Technology Project at the Cobb Safety Village was accepted as a “promising” practice. CDPH will resubmit their application for consideration as a “model” practice once they have demonstrated the effectiveness of their educational modules.

Each year, the Model Practice Program continues to receive a record number of applications. Last year, more than 125 applications were received. Of those, 42 public health practices are selected as “model” and 40 were selected as “promising.” Historically, only eight awards, “promising” or “model,” have been awarded in the State of Georgia. Surely, a sign to keep up the great work!

Visit the NACCHO Model Practice Program online to visit CDPH’s model practice pages.