Training and Technical Assistance Projects

Consultation Services to Assist the Aberdeen Area Office of IHS to Develop a Strategic Plan, 2012–2017

Sundance Research Institute, in partnership with Econometrica, developed a strategic plan for the Aberdeen Area Indian Health Service (AAIHS) for the years 2012–2017. Strategic planning for IHS is particularly complex due to the number of organizations and entities that comprise the Indian healthcare system (e.g., IHS service units, Tribal health programs, Urban Indian Health Programs (UIHPs)), which may each have unique priorities, goals, and objectives determined by its local stakeholders and circumstances. Other factors that add to the complexity of strategic planning include the importance of developing plans in partnership with Tribes to ensure that the priorities and issues of Tribal leaders and Tribal members are reflected and addressed in the plan, as well as ensuring that the AAIHS strategic plan is coordinated and consistent with the goals and objectives of the national IHS strategic plan and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) strategic plan.

The key activities conducted during this 1-year project included:

  • Conduct of an Internal Indian Health Service/Tribal/Urban Indian Health Program (I/T/U) environmental scan to document current resources, types and quantities of services provided, patient characteristics, performance measures and monitoring, existing initiatives, identified needs for improvement, and challenges faced by the I/T/U system. The internal environmental scan was conducted through interviews with managers and key staff of the I/T/U system; focus groups with I/T/U patients; interviews with Contract Health Services providers and other individuals who coordinate and partner with AAIHS; and review of program statistics, internal documents, and other materials that provide insight into the strengths, weaknesses, and issues that guided development of the strategic plan.
  • Conduct of an external environmental scan to document the healthcare system within which AAIHS and the I/T/U system operates.
  • Gathering partner and stakeholder input through key informant interviews, focus groups, and large group meetings to discuss and prioritize issues of greatest importance.
  • Conduct an iterative process with AAIHS leadership, GPTCHB, Area Office division managers, and other stakeholders to develop strategic priorities, feasible objectives, and measurable goals for the strategic plan.

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