Since August 2014, the Public Health Foundation (PHF) has been collaborating with the National Center for Environmental Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the Vector Control Performance Assessment and Improvement Initiative. The idea originated from CDC’s desire to help vector control programs at local health departments improve their performance using self-assessment and quality improvement (QI) tools. With funding from CDC, PHF assisted 14 local health departments to increase their vector control programs' efficiency, effectiveness, and capacity.
The initiative included three parts: performance assessment of each vector control program, prioritization of areas for improvement, and development and implementation of performance improvement projects. To assess the current status of their vector control programs, the health departments used the Environmental Public Health Program Self-Assessment Instrument. Each health department shared their self-assessment results with their assigned PHF QI Expert and began to talk through areas in which they might focus their performance improvement projects. To help the health departments prioritize areas in which to focus their attention, QI Experts Jack Moran and Harry Lenderman provided an electronic version of a Prioritization Matrix developed by PHF intended to help narrow the focus of performance improvement projects to identified priority areas. Performance improvement projects were chosen by the health departments, and Moran and Lenderman assisted with the implementation of these projects using a variety of QI methods and tools as the health departments worked towards achieving measurable improvements.
PHF also developed the Vector Control Population Health Driver Diagram. Participants of the initiative used the population health driver diagram to identify focus areas for their vector control performance improvement projects. Population health driver diagrams can be used in a variety of ways to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of efforts towards achieving a community health objective. Some participants of this project used the Vector Control Population Health Driver Diagram as a reference tool for developing their improvement projects and others used it as a framework for working more effectively with community partners.
As of August, 2015, all participating health departments reported improvement to the effectiveness and/or efficiency of their vector control programs resulting from the implementation of their performance improvement projects. Here are some examples of the progress made:
- Florida Department of Health in Broward County (FL): Improved communication between partnering agencies, such as the Florida Department of Health in Broward County Environmental Health Section and the Broward County Mosquito Control Section, through the use of communication and action flowcharts that helped the agencies to work together more effectively. One of the ways the Florida Department of Health in Broward County engaged other partners was by developing a mosquito borne illness poster that was mounted at all hospital emergency rooms, primary care settings, and urgent care treatment centers.
- Madison County Health Department (AL): Formed new partnerships with nine community organizations that are distributing information about mosquito control and mosquito-borne illness within their neighborhoods. These new partners understand the value of taking steps to educate communities about how to prevent mosquito-borne illness and why this is important.
- Tulsa Health Department (OK): Strengthened partnerships with colleagues within the Tulsa Health Department, specifically with the data management program, which is instrumental in helping the vector control program with surveillance and tracking. Through this improved partnership, data forms on mosquito tracking were updated and implemented.
Through their participation in the Vector Control Performance Assessment and Improvement Initiative, each health department accomplished something that they would not have accomplished otherwise. Whether it was improving the quality and quantity of partnerships, increasing effectiveness of outreach to the community, or streamlining vector control operations, performance improvement was evident. In the future, PHF looks forward to refining the Vector Control Population Health Driver Diagram and working with CDC to further test its use as a tool to engage community partners in strengthening vector control programs.
For more information about this initiative, visit PHF’s website, or contact Micaela Kirshy at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202)218-4410.
Funds for this project are provided by the Environmental Health Services Branch, Division of Emergency Health and Services, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through cooperative agreement CDC-RFA-OT13-130202CONT14.