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Session 3: Quality Improvement in Public Health-Part 1

This session defines quality in public health and provides a foundation for what QI in public health is.  A preparatory reading from the Institute of Medicine introduces the nine aims of public health, which then are applied at big (big QI) and small (small QI) organizational levels during the active learning component.  An interactive online module provides information about additional QI models, strategies for how to prepare aim statements, and benefits of using a process map as a tool to understand what is truly happening within a process.

PREPARATION: The reading and online module are to be completed at the learner’s desired pace, but prior to engagement in the active learning section.

Read: Honore PA, Wright D, Berwick DM, et al. Creating a framework for getting quality into the public health system. Health Affairs. 2011;30(4):737-745.

Watch: Operationalizing Quality Improvement in Public Health (1.5 hrs)
Developed by the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health
Click here to register.  Allow a minimum of 48 hours for confirmation of registration for the module.

ACTIVE LEARNING: The preparation section introduced QI in public health. The following active learning section suggests questions and issues to promote application of information learned during the preparation section. Topic areas for active learning are each bulleted and shown in bolded font. Questions to ask are italicized.

Materials Needed for Group Discussions: White board or easel paper, markers, Post-it notes

  • Big QI vs. Little QI

List the 9 aims (population-centered, equitable, proactive, health-promoting, risk-reducing, vigilant, transparent, effective, and efficient) of public health on a board or easel with two additional columns. Label one column Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and label the other column after your program or institution.

For example:

Public Health Aims MCHB Your Program

The 9 aims of public health emerged from 6 Institute of Medicine (IOM) aims. What 3 aims are included in both the 9 aims of public health and the 6 IOM aims?

How does each of the 9 aims of public health apply to the MCHB (big QI)? Write responses in the MCHB column aligned with each of the 9 aims of public health listed.

How does each of the 9 aims of public health apply to your Title V program or organization (small QI)? If in a group consider providing each participant with 9 Post-it notes. Each participant then can write one aim on each Post-it note. The Post-it notes then are placed in the small QI column in the row related to the aim of public health written on the Post-it note.

How do the aims apply similarly for the large and small organization? How do they apply differently?

  • Wrap-up

Thinking about a QI project can be difficult, because a process is rarely working in the way you think it does. As a process map always moves forward, it can be a helpful tool when developing a QI project, such as the one you will be developing in Session 5.

What opportunities have you had to utilize a process map? If you have not used a process map previously, how can it be helpful in applying QI to a project?

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number T79MC09805, Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Health Nutrition, $176,795, 50% funded by the University of Tennessee, Department of Nutrition. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.