DHDD Strategic Plan: Development & Management

Figure 3: Stakeholders Engaged

The strategic planning process engaged 22 stakeholders across the human development and disability landscape.

22 Stakeholders Engaged. 15 National Association Partners. 5 Federal Partners. 2 Nonprofit Partners.

The DHDD Strategic Plan was developed through an 8-month planning process (2019–2020), performed during one of the most disruptive events in public health history: the COVID-19 pandemic. The Division stays committed to continuing to build on its foundation of work while exercising agility to address evolving public health priorities and emergencies. The Strategic Plan is a guidepost for the Division’s core operations and priorities during the next 5 years.

The Strategic Plan was developed through robust data collection and analysis of DHDD’s portfolio and the public health landscape, including input from key stakeholders to inform the direction and potential collaboration opportunities within the Strategic Plan.

Figure 3: Stakeholders Engaged

The strategic planning process engaged 22 stakeholders across the human development and disability landscape.

22 Stakeholders Engaged. 15 National Association Partners. 5 Federal Partners. 2 Nonprofit Partners.

Strategic Plan Process

The Strategic Plan process was guided by the principals of being data-driven and inclusive. The approach (see Figure 4) outlines the sequential steps taken to build the Plan, although the approach was iterative, applying new information as available and consistently re-engaging stakeholders to ensure alignment and buy-in.

Figure 4: Development Approach

DHDD deployed a five-phased approach to develop the Strategic Plan

Development Approach graphic, details below

  • Align & Define Approach
    • Confirmed strategic planning approach and timeframe
    • Identified key internal and external stakeholders
    • Designed data collection materials and methods
    • Confirmed focus areas and scope for environmental scan
  • Collect & Analyze Data
    • Conducted external data analysis and developed environmental assessments
    • Executed scans for leading practices
    • Collected subject matter expertise and data through focus groups and interviews
  • Prioritize & Plan
    • Conducted a series of facilitated sessions with DHDD leadership to align on strategic direction and priorities
    • Developed a draft Strategic Plan document and iterated to ensure alignment and buy-in
  • Build & Implement
    • Engaged internal and external stakeholders as needed to validate the Strategic Plan
    • Built Implementation Plan and identified owners for key activities under each strategy
  • Monitor & Evaluate
    • Built initial performance measures to track progress against the Plan
    • Developed an approach to facilitate buy-in and adoption of the Plan within DHDD
    • Designed materials to communicate the Strategic Plan broadly


happy family together in a field

The DHDD Strategic Plan is a living document that can evolve over the next 5 years to meet changing public health priorities and needs. To ensure that the Strategic Plan continues to provide guidance to accelerate the impact of DHDD’s work, its applicability will be overseen by the DHDD OD Leadership Team in collaboration with its Branch Chiefs. Annual reviews will be conducted using monitoring and evaluation tools, ensuring ongoing alignment between Division priorities, funding availability, and broader trends in the field of human development and disability. The growth areas will be reviewed regularly to ensure alignment with broader shifts and new opportunities available to DHDD. As needed, DHDD may seek ongoing external partner input to inform the growth areas and other components of the Strategic Plan.

The Strategic Plan is accompanied by an Implementation Plan and communication materials to support operationalization. The Implementation Plan outlines the specific activities under each strategy that the organizational units within DHDD will execute. The Implementation Plan will be updated throughout the course of the Plan based on completed actions, new ideas, and shifts in the broader strategy. Leaders of DHDD’s organizational units will be responsible for tracking progress against the Strategic Plan using the implementation materials. Depending on audience needs, accompanying communication materials (e.g., one-pagers, companion documents, executive summary) will be developed to share the Strategic Plan.

Application and Audiences

Application and Use

The Strategic Plan will be used by DHDD in four ways:

  • Role Definition:
    Clearly define DHDD’s role in the human development and disability space that compliments its partners and ensures unique value within CDC
  • Communication and Partnership:
    Articulate what areas DHDD works on and how it advances its mission to stakeholders, partners, and the public
  • Project Management:
    Facilitate internal DHDD discussions to monitor progress, report on and update activities as completed, and course correct, as needed
  • Innovation Identification:
    Provide a guide for areas to expand and/or enhance based on available resources

Strategic Plan Audiences

The Strategic Plan is a publicly available document intended to be shared with a number of different audiences. So that DHDD may share its commitment to advancing the health of this population, a core audience of this document is those living with, or at risk for, disabilities. The public is an important audience, as it is CDC’s responsibility as an American public institution to deliver on its public health mission. Lastly, the Strategic Plan will be shared with partners and stakeholders. It provides them the scope of work that DHDD aims to advance with its partners in order to optimize impact.