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Cooking Tasty Popcorn: Using a QI Tool to Identify Workforce Development Needs

Related Categories: Performance Management and Quality Improvement (PMQI), Quality Improvement Demonstrations, Workforce Development

Topic: Performance Management and Quality Improvement, Workforce Development

Date: 7/28/2011

Developing a workforce development plan is a critical component of accreditation’s Domain 8. The Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals from the Council on Linkages is one accepted framework that health departments can use to create a workforce development plan. Prioritizing the competencies to meet daily and long term challenges of workforce development was the topic of a breakout session at both the NACCHO and NALBOH 2011 annual conferences. PHF President, Ron Bialek, and PHF Senior Quality Advisor, John W. Moran, led sessions on how to align health department priorities with core competency development through use of a prioritization matrix, a trusted Quality Improvement (QI) tool. This is the first time a prioritization matrix has been used in conjunction with the core competencies model. A prioritization matrix helps teams narrow down options by comparing choices in the context of key criteria. Prioritizing the Best Method of Cooking Tasty Popcorn was used as a teaching example so participants could grasp how to assign a weighted score to multiple options to make an informed decision.
Participants then practiced using the prioritization matrix with 4 of the 8 core competency domains so they understood how to use the tool in their health departments. The session accomplished two main objectives: 
  1. Taught participants how to use a versatile QI tool
  2. Encouraged critical thinking about relevant data before deciding where to allot scarce workforce development resources
After both conferences, more than 100 participants had learned the value of using a QI tool to focus workforce development needs. Following the NACCHO session, one soon-to-be retired local health officer stated that he was going to use this model to help develop the job description of his successor—an example that prioritization can be used in various ways to accomplish workforce development. View the PowerPoint slides below.
Want to learn more?
Ron Bialek and John Moran are eager to share this concept with you. Attend their session on this topic at the APHA conference in October titled How to Focus your Training and Professional Development Efforts to Improve the Skills of your Public Health Organization. PHF is also developing a self-guided tool and a half-day workshop on this topic. Stay tuned for an update on when these resources will be available.


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Cooking Tasty Popcorn: Using a QI Tool to Identify Workforce Development Needs