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Once you have identified and prioritized intervention strategies, you can begin to implement them. This is where the planning turns to action. A strong work plan with a timeline and specific activities (and by whom) is enormously helpful. You’ll need to make adjustments periodically, sometimes due to outside factors and sometimes based on new information that surfaces as the work moves forward.
Be sure partners and staff feel supported during the implementation phase. Have a structured process for sharing successes and challenges, and provide access to training and coaching. Track progress toward goals and keep your champions informed.
Below are a few of the challenges you may find, and some potential actions to consider.
Challenge: The intervention is evidence-based, but isn’t working well in the population you’re serving.
Try: Identify why the intervention isn’t working. Get feedback from community members themselves. See if you can make minor adjustments based on that feedback. Example: some families didn’t participate in well child visits because they equated them with immunizations. When community health workers helped educate families about the difference, and the value of well child care, participation rates began to increase.
Challenge: People implementing interventions get discouraged when they meet resistance to change.
Try: Lead with empathy; change is hard work! Engage with partners to identify specific challenges, and co-develop strategies to address them. Example: for providers, the shift to population health management rather than focusing solely on individual patients is a major change. Invite their input, and try to facilitate training and technical assistance in a way that works best for their system.
Challenge: Interventions are going well but the community doesn’t seem aware of your success.
Try: Identify exactly what’s working and why, and share that information with partners and stakeholders. Ask one of your population health champions to serve in an ambassador role. Be prepared with evidence that it’s working and with one or two personal stories to help make the information come alive. For additional ideas, see the Communications section.
- How Community Health Workers can help with interventions, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
- Implement Programs, Services and Other Interventions, Health and Human Services Administration Community Guide.
- Implementation Supports, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration Strategic Prevention Framework.