A tool to help your community’s efforts to be

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A tool to help your community’s efforts to be

focused and effective


When it comes time to take action on a community’s chosen health priorities, sometimes it is a challenge to move from a broad goal to effective and strategic action. In the “Action Plan” checklist of the Wisconsin Guidebook there are several steps outlined to help ensure effective implementation -- be sure to review those steps when using this tool.
This document addresses one specific part of action planning for impact: a well thought-out implementation plan. You may have already created some of the critical parts of this plan: priority areas and broad goals. This template moves into more specificity including:

  • Specific and measurable objectives

  • Strategies that have a strong foundation in the evidence base

  • Specific action steps with accountabilities, deadlines and resources needed

  • Links to national goals and strategies

This template will help your community to create a plan that is focused and evidence based and that will help you stay on track. In addition, the tool will help hospitals and health department to achieve some of their specific requirements related to community health improvement. Some of the sections of the template are there to assure those key requirements are included. (See the Attachment 1 below for a more detailed description of the specific requirements.)
To enhance the effectiveness of your efforts, be sure you are fully engaging the community leaders and community members concerned with each issue at every stage, including this planning phase. Their involvement at this stage will help to assure chosen strategies fit the target population and will leverage ongoing support of this work during implementation. (See the Collaborate checklist in the Wisconsin Guidebook for more guidance on engaging partners.)

How to Use this Tool

Your community will have already selected top priority areas to address and may have selected broad goals and some strategies for addressing those priority areas. Many times those elements are included in a final report to the community on the results of the community health assessment process. Now it is time to get more specific.
A few things to keep in mind:

  • Consider forming small, focused teams to do this work. Many communities use “implementation teams” with expertise and interest in the particular priority topics. Engaging those key partners in this planning process will help in maintaining commitment and involvement over the long haul.

  • An implementation plan should describe the logical sequence of events that will result in the change you desire. It works like a logic model or strategy map, helping you to drill down from a broad goal to intermediate accomplishments or outcomes and then to very concrete strategies and action steps. (See Attachment 2 for a description of the link between the template implementation plan and a logic model.)

[For more information on logic models, see the University of Wisconsin Extension resources]

  • The most detailed level of your Implementation Plan – the Action Plan -- often becomes your implementations teams’ annual work plan. You may wish to cut and paste it into an annual work plan document and have your teams use that to guide their work.

    • When put into use, a work plan should be a dynamic tool. Target dates may need to be adapted. Actual results may be different than anticipated.

    • Use this tool to document your progress.

(Note: Some organizations are required to track and report on their progress in their community health improvement plan. Using this tool can achieve that end. See the Attachment 1 below for more information on those requirements.)

  • Partner organizations can extract the appropriate sections of this Implementation Plan to insert into their organization’s strategic plan and/or performance management plan. Doing that will help to document their commitment to the collaboration and to track their efforts internally.

  • While this tool is primarily designed for writing an entire implementation plan for a community health improvement initiative, it can also be used on a smaller, more specific scale. For example, a team or volunteer working on strategies to improve healthy nutrition within one particular school might use just the “Action Plan” portion to organize and guide their work.

Once your plan is complete, your community will move into actual implementation where you will use this document as a foundation for monitoring, evaluation, and communicating progress to community leaders and community members. For more information on these steps, review the Implementation and Evaluation checklists in the Wisconsin Guidebook on Improving the Health of Local Communities.
Helpful Resources

As you complete this tool for your community, there are several resources that will be very helpful.

State and National Health Plans:

Sources for Evidence-Based Strategies:

Additional Wisconsin Resources:


Below are both a blank template for you to complete and a sample to help illustrate how it will be used.

Complete one template for each priority area; add sections for additional goals or objectives as needed. Adapt this tool as you see fit for your community.
The following brief description of each section will help to guide your work. (Note: Planning terms are used in many different ways. You may find other definitions of terms such as “objective” or “goal.” The list below is intended to explain how those terms are used in this document. Adapt the terms as needed to fit for your community.)

Priority Area:

Enter here the top issues your community selected as priorities to address at this time.


Write a broad statement of what you hope to accomplish related to this priority area.

Performance Measures:

Demonstrate in this section how you will know you are making progress. State specifically what you will measure to determine whether changes have occurred. Select indicators of progress for both the short term (1-2 years) and long term (3-5 years). Specify the data source you will use for those indicators (or your plan to develop a measurement system if necessary).


Describe the specific measurable end-products of your intervention. Objectives should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-framed.

[Note: When writing your objectives, consider using the “Objectives with Focus” tool.]


Document the type of strategy you are using. Cite any evidence-base for the strategy. (See Helpful Resources above.) Cite if the strategy is a policy change (required for public health accreditation). You may also choose to provide a link to any program sites as applicable.


Outline the steps you will take to achieve each objective. The activities are the “how” portion of the action plan. It is best to arrange activities chronologically by start dates. Place each activity in a separate row and add as many rows as you need to the template.


State the projected start and end date for each activity.

Resources Required:

Include all resources needed for this action step. (Examples: funding, staff time, space needs, supplies, technology, equipment, and key partners.)

Lead Person/ Organization:

Identify by name the key person who will initiate the activity, provide direction for the work, and monitor progress.

Anticipated Result:

Describe the direct, tangible and measurable results of the activity (ex: a product or document, an agreement or policy, number of participants)

Progress Notes:

Track progress of completion of activities. Also note any unexpected outcomes, both positive and negative.


Show the alignment between your community’s priority area and both state and national priorities. (Also show the alignment to tribal priorities when applicable.) You can cite the specific objectives listed at these sites above under Helpful Resources.


ABC County Health Improvement Process

Implementation Plan
Date Created: Date Reviewed/Updated:

PRIORITY AREA: Nutrition & Physical Activity


ABC County will implement policies that support residents in achieving a healthy diet and increased physical activity.


How We Will Know We are Making a Difference

Short Term Indicators



By DATE, decrease the percentage of adults engaging in no physical activity from x% to y%



By DATE, decrease the percentage of adults eating less than five servings of fruits and vegetables daily from x% to y%



By DATE, increase the percentage of WIC infants ever breastfed from x% to y%



Long Term Indicators



By DATE, decrease the percentage of overweight adult from x% to y%



By DATE, decrease the percentage of obese adults from x% to y%




By DATE, increase the number of ABC County municipalities that are working towards adopting local complete street policies from # to #


Source: Complete Streets Program http://www.completestreets.org/

Evidence Base: “Urban design and land use policies” recommended by The Guide to Community Preventive Services

Policy Change (Y/N): Yes



Target Date

Resources Required

Lead Person/ Organization

Anticipated Product or Result

Progress Notes

Attend training on WI’s complete street legislation and assess expected impact on ABC County by discussing with Highway Dept.


Staff time


Amy Adams, ABC Health Department

Increased knowledge

Written resources

Assessment of impact

Finish photovoice project, targeting the communities of X, Y, and Z


Staff time

Volunteer time



Amy Adams and Physical Activity Team Volunteers

Photo display/ presentation for each community

Find at least 1 street/road in each community and graphically design a complete street.


Staff time

Amy Adams

Graphic presentation of desired design for each community’s selected street

Conduct walkability/ bikeability checklists in those communities.


Staff time

Volunteer time


Amy Adams and Physical Activity Team Volunteers

Completed assessment for each community

Create a presentation for city councils about the new state law, using photovoice and complete street pictures.


Staff time

Susie Smith, ABC Health Officer

Terri Thomas, ABC Hospital

PowerPoint presentation and packet of materials

Present to city councils and invite to go on a walk audit.


Staff time

Susie Smith

Terri Thomas

Presentation and walk audit completed

Follow up with city council chair after meeting


Staff time

Susie Smith

Discussed next steps

Announce approved policy to the community collaboratively with the city council (if approved)


Staff time

Terri Thomas

Press release

Press coverage

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