Phase V: The prioritization process
A prioritization process is a method used to determine a few local public health improvement focus areas by further examining and ranking important issues that have been identified through the community health assessment and capacity assessment processes. The prioritization process uses scoring and a facilitated discussion with key stakeholders to systematically determine which issues should have a more intense focus over the next five years. The five-year goal is to “move the needle” on the issue, by either improving capacity or positively impacting a health outcome in a measurable way. Focus areas may include public health issues, environmental health issues, capacity/infrastructure needs or issues that address the social determinants of health.
Focus areas are chosen based on:
The significance to the community’s health.
The existence of associated strategies that can be implemented successfully and are likely to have a sustainable impact.
The presence of community support, leadership and capacity to move the issue forward.
Issues determined to be the focus areas should be included in the public health improvement plan along with information about their respective strategies, goals, objectives, timeline, lead agency and participants.