The first step in improving the health and well-being of any population is getting to know their needs and wants. Humans have a universal set of needs, starting with our basic physiological needs, and advancing to more complex psychological needs, such as a sense of belonging. Before you can improve the health of your people, you first need to understand the current gap between where they are and where they would like to be. A comprehensive needs assessment should be tailored for a group but may include health risk assessments, health screenings, demographic screenings, fitness assessments, focus groups, surveys, and individual interviews.
Our mission is to exceed expectations
After gaining a sense of where your people are and where they would like to be we can start to establish a plan for how to get them there. Planning any health related program should start with an honest look at the programs budget, goals, timeline, and what will constitute success. During this phase, we review literature on the targeted health variables, ensuring the most up to date research steers the programs direction. Often a process of needs prioritizing also happens, because as much as we would like to address every problem at the same time, this is simply unrealistic.
This is the fun part! If we have put in the effort during needs assessment and planning, now we get to set the wheels in motion. Although this is often the most enjoyable part of a program, it is important not to jump in without having gone through appropriate planning. The last thing we want to do is implement a poorly planned program that wastes resources and has the potential to harm rather than help participants.
Evaluation is a continuous process conducted throughout all of our programs, and actually begins during the needs assessment. During the planning phase we identify goals, and determine an appropriate evaluation plan to measure success. While implementing a program we conduct process evaluations to determine if we are implementing the program effectively and as planned. This ensures effective execution, efficient use of resources, and fidelity of the program. Finally, outcome evaluation enables us to measure the extent of the program’s efficacy towards objectives and goals.
Conducting formal and outcome focused evaluation of a program helps us determine if a program continues to serve the needs of your people. If a need continues to be filled, or the group continues to move towards established goals, the program should be maintained, and we look towards increasing efficiency. If not, resources should be reallocated elsewhere. The decision to maintain, adapt, or dissolve a program should be based on sound evaluation principles.