By Jennifer Farfalla
Analyst for Quality Improvement and Life Course, AMCHP
Taking on quality improvement (QI) projects can feel intimidating due to all of the tools, methods and skills there are to learn. However, a host of QI resources and training opportunities are geared toward state and local public health departments – and even specifically toward Title V programs. Through our work with our members as well as our own internal QI journey, we at AMCHP identified a number of these resources.
QI Consultation for Title V Programs
The National Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development Center (the Center) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers Title V programs free consultation and services related to health care reform. The center features four core areas in which it provides services: health transformation, change management, systems integration and quality improvement. The quality improvement core is staffed by a mix of AMCHP staff and QI experts from the Population Health Improvement Partners. The center is unique in that its services are concentrated on preparing the Title V workforce in particular to respond to today's complex and changing environment. Because quality improvement is one of its four core areas, the Center offers targeted coaching and consultation on quality improvement within health departments and Title V. Request a consultation here.
As a practice partner of the Center, AMCHP's houses Transformation Station, a web-based repository of resources related to health transformation. The quality improvement resources on Transformation Station can be accessed here.
QI Training for State and Local Health Departments
Population Health Improvement Partners (Improvement Partners) in North Carolina is a practice partner of the National MCH Workforce Development Center. Improvement Partners has experience working with state and local health departments to increase QI capacity. It offers two interactive QI training programs designed to build individual skills and organizational QI capacity. The introductory program is Quality Improvement 101, which allows participants to apply the QI methods and tools they're learning to projects at their health departments. Staff learn to use tools such as the fishbone diagram, impact matrix, aim statements, process mapping and value stream mapping. The more advanced training option, the QI Advisor program, trains staff who have a QI skills base to become leaders for continuous quality improvement within their organizations. Staff learn how to lead the QI processes and tools from QI 101 and get experience facilitating a Kaizen Event. Visit the Population Health Improvement Partners here.
QI for Epidemiologists
Due to the need for measurement and critical thinking, QI projects can sometimes fall to the epidemiology department. In December 2014, AMCHP published QI Resources for Epidemiologists. The material for this publication originated from a roundtable discussion with epidemiologists about their needs to successfully take part in QI projects. The resource is available here.
In-Person Learning from Experts and Peers
The National Network of Public Health Institutes supports a Community of Practice for Public Health Improvement (COPPHI), which hosts public health department leaders at the Open Forum for Quality Improvement twice a year. Participants learn about concrete examples of applying improvement practices from each other and national experts through oral presentations, roundtable discussions and poster presentations. The event registration is open to the public. Find out more about the Open Forum for QI in Public Health and COPPHI here.
Examples of QI in Public Health Practice
A resource called the Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange (PHQIX) provides examples of QI in applied public health that you can study without having to leave your office. PHQIX is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and was created by RTI International. It is an online database of QI efforts conducted by state and local public health departments. You can filter to explore QI initiatives specific to MCH programs at the state and local level. When you click on an initiative, you can learn about the project and useful replication information such as how many fulltime employees a QI team had or what type of QI training the organization gave its staff. PHQIX can be accessed here.
Good luck on your QI projects! For additional support contact AMCHP's internal QI advisor, Jennifer Farfalla, at firstname.lastname@example.org.