A New Year, a New Plan

January 20, 2022 | Zarnaaz Bashir

European robin on a branch in springWhat better way to start the new year than with a new strategic plan! ASTHO’s Board of Directors approved the 2022-2024 Strategic Plan and launched it on Jan. 3, 2022, with a new set of priorities that reflect our ever-changing world and factors that influence the future of public health. Over the last several years, our nation and the world have been through a series of crises that have shifted the way organizations view their priorities, their operations, and their impact.

In May 2021, ASTHO comprehensively examined our vision, mission and values, possible future scenarios, and existing priorities to target strategic priorities for the next three years. These shared priorities and their milestone objectives will shape our daily actions as an organization—our Board, our members, and our staff—as we work consistently to achieve results.

ASTHO’s 2022-2024 strategic priorities and long-term outcomes are as follows:

  • Health and Racial Equity: A state and territorial public health system that prioritizes implementing policies and programs advancing health and racial equity to achieve optimal health for all.
  • Workforce Development: A diverse state and territorial public health workforce that is engaged, well-resourced, well-trained, and connected to the communities it serves.
  • Sustainable Infrastructure Improvements: State and territorial health agencies have sufficient, predictable, flexible capabilities, resources, and authorities to effectively protect and promote the health of their communities.
  • Data Modernization and Interoperability: A state and territorial public health system supported by an enterprise-level data infrastructure in which public health data systems are interoperable, secure, and supported by a well-trained workforce.
  • Evidence-Based and Promising Public Health Practices: State and territorial health agencies are implementing equitable evidence-based public health policies and programs in their jurisdictions that are achieving tangible improvement in public health outcomes across all programs and populations.

In addition to these priorities, ASTHO defines the core behaviors that guide and direct the organization and our culture: leadership, integrity, collaboration, respect, diversity and inclusion, and responsiveness. ASTHO integrates these values into daily employee-related processes, from hiring to performance management, and form the basis for how we interact and conduct our work.

ASTHO’s eight-month strategic planning process included a rigorous review of progress towards meeting the prior strategic plan and its objectives. Additionally, we gathered stakeholder perspective on ASTHO’s current and ideal states through interviews with staff, membership, alumni, partners, and funders. An environmental scan and review of materials helped define ASTHO’s current state assessment of identity (vision, mission, values), operations, financials, programs and services, membership, marketing and communications, and governance.

As ASTHO moves into the next phase of strategic planning, tracking and reporting on progress over the next three years will be key. ASTHO will be launching an operations plan that outlines how the organization intends to carry out the strategic plan, including key activities, success metrics, and targets for every objective, and a tracking system that monitors how we are making an impact and where we need to improve. The operations plan helps ensure that we achieve what we set out to do with our strategic plan and that we remain focused on ASTHO’s mission to support, equip, and advocate for state and territorial health officials in their work of advancing the public’s health and well-being. We look forward to working with our partners as we implement this important work.