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Q&As about DHAP's Strategic Plan 2011-2015

What was the starting point for DHAP's new Strategic Plan 2011-2015 (the Plan)?

The foundation for DHAP's Plan was the April 2009 External Peer Review of DHAP Surveillance, Research and HIV Prevention.  This review was held under the auspices of CDC's Board of Scientific Counselors.  Participants —including academicians, health professionals, state health department staff, representatives from affected communities, and representatives from non-governmental organizations—conducted a review of DHAP programs based on the following criteri

  • Relevance to DHAP mission;
  • Scope and relative priority;
  • Scientific and technical quality, approach, and direction;
  • Adequacy of translation and dissemination of research findings for use in programs
  • Strengths, gaps, challenges, and opportunities;
  • Extent to which the activity addresses the NCHHSTP imperatives of program collaboration and service integration and reducing health disparities. 

Final recommendations from the External Peer Review were published and are available online.

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How did DHAP address the findings from the External Peer Review in the Plan?

Recommendations from the External Peer Review (EPR) were considered throughout development of the Plan.  For example, participants in the EPR emphasized the need to effectively use data for planning and monitoring HIV prevention activities.  This recommendation is captured in Strategy A1, which directs DHAP to systematically collect, analyze, integrate, and disseminate data to monitor the HIV epidemic, assess the impact of HIV prevention activities, and guide the national response.  EPR participants also emphasized the importance of a feedback loop that allowed program experiences to be incorporated into the Division's research and programmatic activities.  This recommendation is reflected in Strategy D2, which focuses on the development, implementation and monitoring of an external communication and partner engagement plan to improve transparency, accountability, participation and collaboration through bi-directional flow of information.

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How is the Plan different than previous CDC HIV Prevention Strategic Plans?

First, while DHAP did apply lessons learned from previous CDC-wide prevention plans during the development process, this Plan is focused solely on DHAP and will serve as a practical guide to inform the priorities, programs, and activities specific to the Division. Second, the Plan incorporates major goals and strategies of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) released by the White House in July 2010.  As such, the Plan embodies DHAP's commitment to high-impact prevention using scalable, cost-effective interventions with demonstrated potential to reduce new infections, in the right populations, to yield a major impact on the epidemic.

How specifically does the Plan relate to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS)?

DHAP's Plan was greatly influenced by the Division's participation in the process convened by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy to develop NHAS.  Working through NCHHSTP and the Office of the Secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), DHAP staff served on key committees responsible for drafting NHAS.  The input of these same staff during the development of the Plan ensured it was aligned with NHAS and set a course for the Division that furthered the goals and objectives of the broader strategy.

For additional information on the links between the Plan and NHAS, please see Appendix C which maps the link between DHAP Strategies and the NHAS Implementation Plan Steps.

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What was the process for drafting the Plan?  Who internal to CDC was involved?

Using the final recommendations from the External Peer Review report as a starting point, in 2010, 80 senior DHAP leaders (e.g., the Division Director, Deputy Directors, Associate Directors, Branch Chiefs, Team Leads, and other senior staff) participated in a 2½ day retreat to define the Division's vision and mission and to identify the goals and objectives of the Plan.  These leaders twice reconvened for additional 2-day planning meetings, refining goals, objectives and strategies. 

During the summer and fall of 2010, staff representing a broad cross-section of the Division continued to review drafts and provide feedback, and several work groups formed to focus on finalizing specific aspects of the Plan.  DHAP also conducted two Division-wide employee surveys, the first in February/March 2010 and a second in November 2010, and shared drafts for comments and clearance with NCHHSTP.  At each stage in the process, all comments were carefully considered.

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How did DHAP involve external partners in development of the Plan?

Honoring its promise to undertake a transparent strategic planning process, DHAP consulted external stakeholders throughout the Plan development.  Early in the process, DHAP conducted face-to-face and telephone interviews with 49 key internal and external leaders.  As worked progressed, the Division continued to seek input, using a Strategic Plan External Work Group comprised of DHAP external partners who had served on the External Peer Review Steering Committee. 

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What are the next steps for the DHAP Plan?

Over the next months, senior leaders in the Division will work with DHAP staff  to implement the Plan focusing on specific activities related to each strategy.  DHAP will also work with its branches to ensure that within 6-months all activities occuring in the Division are mapped to a specific goal, objective and strategy.

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How will DHAP work with partners and grantees in accomplishing the goals and objectives of the Plan?

One of the top priorities for implementation is developing comprehensive internal and external communication plans and creating an external partnership framework and inventory to guide partner engagement.  DHAP has also prioritized strengthening allocation and management processes for extramural resources to improve accountability and maximize DHAP's impact on the HIV epidemic.  Through these activities, DHAP will engage partners and grantees in working together to achieve the goals laid out in the Plan.

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How will DHAP communicate its progress in implementing the Plan and achieving its objectives?

Because many of the objectives proposed in the Plan either mirror objectives of NHAS, or are integral to achieving the objectives of NHAS, much of DHAP's progress will be reflected in reports on NHAS implementation.  To supplement these reports with information specific to DHAP, however, annual updates will be posted on the Division website. 

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