Public Health Administration SWOT analysis

Week 3 Assignment: T Cappello 2

Week 3 Assignment: T Cappello 7

Current Week : Strategic Planning

A journey takes planning. Consider how you plan a trip using a global positioning system (GPS) device. Typically, there is more than one way to reach the same destination. If you are a strong highway driver, you might select the route with highways because the GPS determines that this is the quickest route. If you are anxious on highways, you might compensate for this weakness by choosing to take the back roads. If you are in a hurry, however, you might have to weigh the opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery with the risk of missing an appointment or event. In other words, you might weigh your strengths and weaknesses as a driver with opportunities and threats related to the trip in order to develop the best traveling strategy.

As a public health administrator, you also need skills in developing strategic plans for public health organizations. This week, you use an analysis tool to evaluate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in a public health leadership issue. You examine strategies to minimize weaknesses and capitalize on strengths, and you explore the relationship between resource allocation and strategic planning.


Shi, L., & Johnson, J. A. (2014). Novick and Morrow’s public health administration: Principles for population-based management (3rd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

· Chapter 16, “Strategic Planning in Public Health” (pp. 343–356)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (n.d.-e). SWOT analysis tool. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from

Community Tool Box. (2013). Chapter 8: Developing a strategic plan. Retrieved from

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). (n.d.-a). Developing an LHD strategic plan. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from

Document: Public Health Administrator Interview Questions (PDF) (I will attach this doc below): Public Health Administrator Interview Questions

1. How do you conduct a strategic planning process? 2. Who are the key individuals involved in the process? 3. Describe how decision making and resource allocation are important to managing your strategic planning process. 4. What you do you think are best practices for strategic planning? 5. Do you have any suggestions and advice for someone new to the strategic planning process?


Strategic Planning


RONNA GOTTHAINER: Strategic planning is something that looks really good

on paper. But when it comes down to really getting it done, it’s a very difficult

process that takes a really long time to do well, which is why you could use some

outside help and why everybody in the department ends up getting involved. So

to get a strategic plan that works, I think it’s really worth the time and effort

everything you’ve got into it and then use it, because you don’t want to do that

every year.


MAURA ROSSMAN: My process for developing the strategic plan for our

department is, hopefully, providing the vision and the overarching goals of what I

think that vision should be and, hopefully, organizing a community of persons to

vet those decisions and vote on what those objectives should be to move those

goals forward.

RONNA GOTTHAINER: I engage in the strategic planning process by trying to

set up a framework, trying to determine what length of a strategic plan we need,

trying to determine what the environment is like currently and what it should be in

the future. And to do that, you have to read some literature, follow the politics,

contact websites, such as the American Public Health Association, National

Association of County and City Health Officials, just to get a scan of what’s going

on in public health and what is likely to go on in the future.

I then would engage an outside consultant. I think it’s important to have an

independent individual come in and help who is experienced in strategic

planning, who can lead the process and bring people together, both within the

health department and stakeholders external to the department, to get

information that would help form a strategic plan.

MAURA ROSSMAN: We are currently undergoing– or planning, actually– a

strategic plan for the Howard County Health Department. It was last done about

10 years ago. So we actually are working with a facilitator who will help us

engage and develop our goals and objectives and then figure out the steps on

how to implement our goals and objectives over the next five years.

RONNA GOTTHAINER: I think part of strategic planning is doing a SWOT

analysis. What I like to do to prepare for the strengths and weaknesses and the

opportunities and threats is put everything up on whiteboards, bring people into a

room, and create four different categories, and have everybody participate in

developing what those things are.

MAURA ROSSMAN: Whenever we are developing policy, we’re always thinking

about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges, perhaps not

overtly, but sometimes, absolutely putting it on pieces of paper.

RONNA GOTTHAINER: And I think it’s important to make sure that nobody’s

idea is left on the table. Things that are opportunities could be considered

threats. Things that are threats could be opportunities.

MAURA ROSSMAN: So I think, almost every day, I use that approach. I don’t

necessarily think about it as SWOT. But it’s sort of looking at the pros and cons

of decision making and how you may approach something. Especially if you’re

trying to, I think, bring together a group of people to, again, share a vision, share

goals, and move forward in order to reach consensus, I think you have to

understand where everyone may be coming from.

RONNA GOTTHAINER: What I try to do in using planning and decision making is

try to stick to the plan. For example, if there are grant opportunities out there and

we have a five-year strategic plan in place, and the grant opportunity does not

apply to anything in our plan, I try not to divert ourselves from our goals and

objectives and go for that funding, because it can only distract us from achieving

what we’ve set out to achieve.

MAURA ROSSMAN: We are constantly planning for threats from a

communicable disease perspective of what we may want to do. For me,

obviously, if we made the appropriate plans, if the time arises to make decisions,

those decisions are certainly a lot easier to make.

RONNA GOTTHAINER: We’ve had a plan in place, and then things happened

that were beyond our control that changed things. In 2009, Health Department

suffered about a 43% cut in one of our funding sources. And that supported quite

a few programs that local health departments had, which meant that we had to

very quickly determine how to stop providing certain services, how to try to move

staff into other programs. But ultimately, we were required to lay off some staff,

shut some programs down.

And that led to a lot of other issues. For example, some people who had been

getting services from the Health Department were not able to find the same

services elsewhere. And trying to place them in other places didn’t work out so

well. And that led to letters to the editor in the paper and a lot of other issues. So

it can become a very difficult political situation when you’re faced with making

tough choices when your plan goes awry because of external factors.

MAURA ROSSMAN: The fiscal and the human assets that the department has

certainly impact the strategic planning.

RONNA GOTTHAINER: In order to put a plan together that will work, you really

need to make sure you have both the finances to see it through and the staff to

make it happen.

MAURA ROSSMAN: I think there’s two ways of looking at it. One could be what,

really, do we see, again, as our vision and goals; devising whatever those goals

or objectives; and then looking at your assets and saying, how do we get there?

The other end is saying, what are our assets, and what can our goals be? I think,

if you use the latter, then you may be short-changing yourself. If you use the

former and say, sky’s the limit, what do we need to do, then you can say, how are

we going to approach it given our resources?

RONNA GOTTHAINER: It’s one thing to have goals and objectives. But when

you get down to the real strategies to make things happen, you realize that you

may not be able to do everything you’d like to do. So you can either put that off

for further down the line when you might have the resources, or you have to

really streamline what you’re doing and make sure that it works within the

resources that you have.

So it’s something that I take pretty seriously, sticking to a strategic plan. I think

you’ve got to review it on an annual basis, make sure the environment hasn’t

changed, that other factors haven’t changed that you have no control over, and

make adjustments if necessary. But it’s real important to have something in place

to follow as you move forward.

Assignment: SWOT Analysis Draft

Strategic planning is a primary function of leadership and management in public health administration. Leaders are critical in determining the optimal route (goals and objectives) to ensure the organization’s success. Strategy development and implementation is a journey that requires planning, and the organization’s “vision” is the idealized destination. Different paths, different stops, and different issues arise along the way. The art and science of planning should be embedded in the culture of the public health organization in order to positively affect population health status and meet health challenges at the local, state, regional, national, and even global levels.

Although most public health professionals will focus on local, regional, or state responsibilities, the planning process—coupled with artful utilization of relationships and scientific utilization of planning tools—is salient at any level and for any type of public health organization.

For this week’s Assignment, review the media, especially the media titled Strategic Planning ( see above TRANSCRIPT) Consider how these health organizations use strategic planning to address public health issues. Then, review the SWOT analysis tool provided. This tool refers to a Community of Practice (CoP), but this template may be used for documenting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to your Final Project public health problem. If you prefer, you may create your own SWOT table.

Section I

Based on issues identified for the community health problem featured in your Final Project, review the SWOT analysis tool provided (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.-e).

Section III

Contact a health care/public health administrator involved in the strategic planning process. Conduct a brief interview (face-to-face, e-mail, or telephone) using the questions provided in the Public Health Administrator Interview Questions document in your Learning Resources (see above, I copy pasted he Questions, under RESOURCES).

The Assignment: SWOT Table and Paper (5 pages):

Conduct an informal SWOT analysis. The analysis should include the following:

· Section I: SWOT Table (1 page)

· A completed SWOT table listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to the public health leadership issue identified in your Final Project. Fill in the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the health problem identified. Then, provide a summary in which you describe your selected strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Why did you select these strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats over others? Include some strategies for minimizing weaknesses and capitalizing on strengths and opportunities.

· Section II: Using the SWOT Analysis (1 page)

· A narrative explanation of the SWOT findings

· An explanation of how, as a public health administrator, you might use the information obtained in the SWOT analysis in strategic planning, decision making, and resource allocation


· Section III: Administrator Interview Synopsis (2–3 pages):

· An interview with a public health administrator on strategic planning. Your interview may be conducted over the phone, Skype, e-mail, or in person if you prefer. (Note: You must transcribe or summarize your interview and post it.)

· Prepare your thoughts and questions carefully in advance, so you can be succinct in your interview. In your interview, you should ask the interviewee questions such as the following, as well as any other questions you think are appropriate to the organization or individual you are interviewing:

How often do you and your organization engage in the strategic planning process?

· How do you utilize the strategic plan? Please describe this plan. (For example, how detailed is it? Is it a long-range plan?)


· What are your thoughts about the strategic planning process? How well is it working? What are specific strengths of the process from your perspectives? Have you encountered any barriers or difficulties to overcome?


Following the interview, please complete the following:

· Write a synopsis of your findings.

· Explain the relationship between planning and decision making in resource allocation in the strategic planning process.

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