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Session 4: Quality Improvement in Public Health-Part II

This session defines the difference between QI, quality assurance, and evaluation.  Readings from the American Public Health Association share the successes and challenges of state and local health departments that have implemented QI projects.  The primary focus is how to evaluate effectiveness in public health across organizational levels to ensure the end product is useful.  Several innovative methodologies, such as using a social network structure, are introduced and applied during the active learning component.

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

Watch: Evaluating Effectiveness in Public Health at the Individual and Organizational Level (2 hrs)
Developed by the South Central Public Health Partnership (University of Alabama Birmingham and Tulane University). Click here to register. Allow a minimum of 48 hours for confirmation of registration for the module.  If you are experiencing issues with any of the modules offered through the South Central Public Health Partnership, please refer to the FAQs provided by the SCPHP Tech Support team HERE.

Read: Quality Improvement Initiatives
Developed by the American Public Health Association
Within this webpage read the following QI brochures:

  • Health Department Initiatives: Moving Toward Quality Improvement
  • Quality Improvement in Public Health: It Works!

Read: What is Quality Improvement?
Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Within this webpage:

  • Review: Section A slides of the Donabedian Model
  • Read: Section B slides (sides 24-40) of the Donabedian Model
    PowerPoint developed by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

The preparation section allowed further study of 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

  • QI, Quality Assurance, and Evaluation

What is the difference between QI, quality assurance, and evaluation? Why is it important to understand the differences between each?

  • State Examples of QI Projects

Several state examples were shared in “QI in Public Health: It Works!” from the American Public Health Association. If you have engaged in a QI process, what did you experience similarly? Differently?

  • Evaluating Effectiveness and Social Network Structures

What types of evaluation have you used?

A more novel form of evaluation is the use of a social networking structure. Make a node in the middle of the board or easel paper labeled Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Trainees or MCH staff.

How do MCH Trainees (or staff) influence maternal and child health populations? Make nodes for each area of influence to develop a social network structure.

  • Wrap-up

How can a social network map be used to evaluate impact of MCH training programs?


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.