Wisconsin Case Study
Strategic Planning Process to Address Tobacco-Related Disparities in Wisconsin
What were the important elements to the intervention's success?
- Recruitment of organizations and agencies representing populations with potential disparities
- Hiring of experienced facilitator who was able to maintain a high level of involvement and cohesiveness
- Creation of an egalitarian and inclusive process for the Workgroup which resulted in consensus decision making
- Organization of data relevant to tobacco disparities prior to Workgroup meetings
Describe the policy and/or program interventions applicability/replicability to other sites, and include recommendations for other sites.
Wisconsin's strategic planning process can be replicated by any state. The Workgroup comprised 13 representatives of organizations vital to an inclusive and diverse strategic planning process.
Describe the challenges faced, and below each challenge, describe any solutions used to correct or reduce the problem.
- Challenge: Lack of staff time. Coordinating the strategic planning process was added onto the other responsibilities of the Director of the Tobacco Control Program.
- Solutions: Contract immediately with facilitator, make reassignments of staff and plan for required staff time.
- Challenge: Recruiting the appropriate people to the Workgroup. The group lacked representation from the gay/lesbian community, current smokers, unions or the business community.
- Solutions: Continually re-visit the Workgroup membership and the revitalize the recruitment effort as more data comes to light.
- Challenge: Maintain Workgroup members' attendance and active participation.
- Solutions: Circulate materials, communicate by telephone and e-mail, and solicit input from members between meetings. Expert participatory techniques and inclusionary skills of an experienced facilitator aid in maintaining active participation.
- Challenge: Recruit enough representative organizations/groups to maintain regular attendance of 12–15.
- Solutions: Invite more participants than you need and anticipate absenteeism.
What would you have done differently?
Invite more people than ideally are wanted to attend. Explore the idea of designating money in the budget for stipends for community-based participants.
Lessons Learned Notes
- Gather data available from resident epidemiologists prior to convening the group.
- Hire an experienced facilitator prior to convening the group.
- Allow sufficient time during the recruitment process to develop contacts to ensure diversity in the workgroup. But don't expect perfection the first time. Recruitment will need to be continually revisited.
- Consider what the ideal number of individuals might be and involve more people than that number to ensure that the group will have an adequate number of core participants.
- Have materials for the initial meeting ready before scheduling the first meeting. Provide a good description of the goals of the project, time commitment and member responsibility. Provide directions and hotel information for those who will have to stay overnight. Be at the door to welcome participants on arrival and introduce them to one another.
- The workgroup will interact freely with one another when the project coordinator and facilitator do not impose their vision of the process and outcomes on the group.
- Use the break-out method to increase the power and efficiency of the group.
- Keep to a strict schedule.
- Give the group specific tasks to accomplish both at and between meetings.
- Adapt and streamline CDC tools for state's individual circumstances.
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