Strategic Planning Guide: Guidance and Resources to Assist State and Territorial Health Agencies in Developing a Strategic Plan


State and territorial public health agencies are pulled in many directions. An effective strategic plan can help you address your state's chief public health needs while allowing you to adapt to a changing environment. ASTHO created this strategic planning guide to help public health agencies develop new—or refine existing—strategic plans. As part of its services to members, ASTHO promotes and supports strategic planning in states and territories by providing technical assistance and tools and providing strategic planning services.

This guide is designed to address what we often hear from states when they seek our help:

"We have a strategic plan, but no one follows it; it does not really guide our work."

"We have a plan that talks about what everyone does, but it's not really strategic."

"We have a lot of plans, and need to make sense of them all - we're thinking about making an overarching plan."

"We need help understanding and meeting the strategic planning prerequisite for accreditation."

The guide walks the reader through a comprehensive strategic planning process:

  • Preparing: Organizing the planning group and process, developing mission and vision, scanning the environment
  • Planning: Strategizing and setting priorities, developing work plans
  • Implementing: Evaluating progress through a performance management system, periodically revising the plan

Examples of work completed in these areas and lessons learned by states are provided. Specific documentation needed to gain public health accreditation is defined.

Download the guide