Staged Development Tool (SDT)
Helping National Public Health Institutes improve effectiveness and efficiency.
“We spent three days in an intense and passionate process that made us think and thoroughly explore our capacity. The SDT tool was of great use to us and we were delighted to have participated.”
– Togo INH Deputy Director Dr. Kossi Badziklou
Learn more about Togo’s experience with the SDT tool.
National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) sometimes struggle to define the most critical next steps that will improve capacity for core public health functions and effective and efficient internal operations. To fill this gap, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), with the assistance from a consultative group of NPHI leaders from around the world, developed a Staged Development Tool (SDT). The tool helps NPHIs assess their current capacity and develop a roadmap for achieving a higher level of functioning.
What is the Staged Development Tool?
The SDT is a process and toolkit to help NPHIs function at a higher level.
The process involves three steps:
- Assess gaps
28 Discussion Guides have been developed to help NPHIs determine their maturity in priority areas and identify areas for improvement. The Discussion Guides are based on a maturity model, or the idea that for a given topic, NPHIs exhibit different levels of maturity or development. By providing examples of what these maturity stages look like, Discussion Guides facilitate conversations that help participants clarify their NPHI’s current state, desired state, and major gaps that need to be addressed to move to their ideal state. NPHIs can reapply the SDT assessment at different time intervals to determine if the steps taken to address gaps led to significant improvements in capacity.
SDT Background and Description pdf icon[944KB, 13 Pages] is a presentation about the SDT, which describes its structure, components, and usage. French, Spanish, and Portuguese versions can be found in the SDT Resources section at the bottom of this page.
Who can use the SDT?
- The SDT can be used by established NPHIs or during establishment of an NPHI, if it is clear what groups and people will comprise the NPHI
- Groups that are using the SDT need to have identified priority areas for improvement. These can relate to public health functions or to internal issues, such as leadership and management.
Who can assist with using the SDT?
- The SDT process is designed to be facilitated, either by an internal or external facilitator
- An external facilitator trained on how to use the tool is recommended, especially if the NPHI is using the SDT for the first time. An external facilitator offers the following advantages:
- Knowledge of maturity models
- Familiarity with Discussion Guides, terms used, and NPHI functions
- Ability to offer fresh perspectives and relevant experiences
- Ability to remain neutral, if difficult issues arise (e.g., in discussion of leadership and management)
- Ability to step back and make sure the big picture guides all activities
The SDT Background and Description presentation (File size: 944KB-2.3MB, 13 Pages) is a presentation about the SDT, which describes its structure, components, and usage. The SDT Facilitator’s Guide presentation (File size: 1.5MB-12.6MB, 19 Pages) is a presentation designed for use by individuals who plan to facilitate an SDT session. It provides details on how to use the SDT and run SDT assessment and work-planning sessions.
Staged Development Tool (SDT) Presentation Files
SDT Background and Description (Presentation)
The SDT Assessment Form is used to capture the key points from the assessment. It allows the facilitator to record current and desired scores, plus the justifications and examples that informed decisions about the current scores. The Work-Planning Form is used to develop plans to address gaps identified by the assessment. This form is for recording activities, milestones, responsible staff, and projected timeline. Other work-planning templates could also be used to capture the elements referenced in the Work-Planning Form. (Form file size: 24KB-75KB).
Staged Development Tool (SDT) Form Files
SDT Assessment Form
The Discussion Guide Definition and Notes document (file size: 185KB) provides an overview of the 28 Discussion Guides, which describe stages of development for a range of topics. Topics are both internal-facing (e.g., related to management and leadership) and external-facing (e.g., related to core public health functions like surveillance and research). Each Discussion Guide (file sizes: 81KB to 132 KB) is a one-page description of NPHI capacities in Basic, Developing, Advanced, and Leading Edge stages.
Staged Development Tool (SDT) Discussion Guide Files
Internal-facing Discussing Guides
2. Leadership and Management
3. Health and Safety
4. Laboratory Safety
5. Human Resources (HR) Management
6. Staff Development
7. Management of Organizational Information
8. Internal Communication
9. External Communication about the NPHI and its Activities
10. Information Technology (IT)
External-facing Discussing Guides
12. Population Health Status
13. Management of Public Health Information
14. Health Communication
15. Laboratory Reference and Diagnostic Services, and Support for Quality Improvement
17. Surveillance for Acute Public Health Problems, Including Infectious Diseases
18. Sentinel Surveillance
19. Reporting of Acute Public Health Events
20. Investigation of Acute Public Health Events
21. Emergency Preparedness and Response
22. Implementation of International Health Regulations (IHR)
24. Strategic Data Collection and Analysis
25. Development of Public Health Recommendations
26. Uptake of Public Health Recommendations
27. Public Health Workforce Development