Staged Development Tool


National Public Health Institutes (NPHI) sometimes struggle to define the most critical next steps that will improve capacity for core public health functions and effective and efficient internal operations. To fill this gap, U.S. CDC and IANPHI, in consultation with a group of NPHI leaders from around the world, developed the Staged Development Tool (SDT). The tool helps NPHIs assess their current capacity capacities and identify gaps in functionality, prioritize gaps, and develop a roadmap for achieving a higher level of functioning. 

What is the Staged Development Tool?

The SDT uses a maturity model to help NPHIs assess their capacities in priority areas and identify areas for improvement. 28 Discussion Guides provide detailed descriptions for what might be found at NPHIs at different stages of maturity or development. The Discussion Guides include both external-facing topics (such as surveillance and research) and internal-facing topics (such as leadership and management). They are used to facilitate conversations that help participants clarify their NPHI’s current state, desired state, and major gaps that need to be addressed to move to their ideal state.

The output of SDT planning is a roadmap to building capacity and increasing impact in areas the NPHI considers a priority.

See also: Use of the Staged Development Tool for Assessing, Planning, and Measuring Progress in the Development of National Public Health Institutes, published in Health Security, Volume: 16, Issue S1: November 27, 2018

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The SDT involves three steps:

sdt process flow

Step 1: Assess

28 Discussion Guides are used to help NPHIs determine their maturity in priority areas and identify areas for improvement. By providing examples of what these maturity stages look like, Discussion Guides facilitate conversations that help participants clarify their NPHI’s current state, desired state, and major gaps that need to be addressed to move to their ideal state. NPHIs can reapply the SDT assessment at different time intervals to determine if the steps taken to address gaps led to significant improvements in capacity.

Step 2: Prioritize

The next step in the process is to decide the highest priorities for planning. Prioritization can be done using the SDT forms as the basis for discussion and/or using structured approaches, like multi-voting or criteria matrices. Careful definition of the priorities – ensuring they address the most important issues and are actionable – provides a good basis for Step Three: Plan.

Step 3: Plan

Once the NPHI has identified its gaps and decided on its highest priorities, work-planning can begin. The Work‐Planning Form helps NPHIs organize the plans into activities and milestones, and get agreement on who is responsible and when the work should be done.

Who can use the Staged Development Tool?

The SDT can be used by established NPHIs or during the development of an NPHI if it is clear what groups and which people will comprise the NPHI. The SDT process is designed to be facilitated. We recommend using an external facilitator trained on how to use the tool, especially if the NPHI is using the SDT for the first time.

An external facilitator offers the following advantages:

  • Knowledge of maturity models
  • Familiarity with Discussion Guides, terms used, and NPHI functions
  • Ability to offer fresh perspectives and relevant experiences
  • Ability to remain neutral, if difficult issues arise (e.g., in discussion of leadership and management)
  • Ability to step back and make sure the big picture guides all activities

Who to contact for help?

If you have any comments or questions, you can contact us at info@ianphi.org or contact the U.S. CDC's NPHI Program at nphisdt@cdc.gov.

Staged Development Tool Resources

Staged Development Tool Slide Sets

Background and Description

For more information about the SDT, and more in-depth background and description, you can access detailed presentations available in four languages.

English (pdf)  English (ppt)  French (pdf)  French (ppt)

Portuguese (pdf)  Portuguese (ppt)  Spanish (pdf)  Spanish (ppt)

Facilitator's Guide

The Facilitator’s Guide includes details about how to prepare for and run an SDT workshop and how to use the Discussion Guides and Forms to achieve the desired outcomes. It also include tips on facilitating the workshop and ensuring that clarity on follow-up steps.

English (pdf)  English (ppt)  French (pdf)  French (ppt)

Portuguese (pdf)  Portuguese (ppt)  Spanish (pdf)  Spanish (ppt)


Forms

SDT Assessment Form

The SDT Assessment Form can be used to capture the key points from the assessment. It allows the facilitator to record current and desired scores, plus the justifications and examples that informed decisions about the current scores.

English (pdf)  English (docx)  French (pdf)  French (docx)

Portuguese (pdf)  Portuguese (docx)  Spanish (pdf)  Spanish (docx)

Work-Planning Form 

The Work-Planning Form is used to develop plans to address gaps identified by the assessment. This form is for recording activities, milestones, responsible staff, and projected timeline. Other work-planning templates can also be used to capture the elements referenced in the Work-Planning Form. 

English (pdf)  English (docx)  French (pdf)  French (docx)

Portuguese (pdf)  Portuguese (docx)  Spanish (pdf)  Spanish (docx)


Discussion Guides

The Discussion Guides are based on a maturity model or the idea that for a given topic, NPHIs exhibit different levels of maturity or development. By providing examples of what these maturity stages look like, Discussion Guides facilitate conversations that help participants clarify their NPHI’s current state, desired state, and major gaps that need to be addressed to move to their ideal state.

The Discussion Guides are organized in two categories, internal-facing and external-facing. Internal-facing Discussion Guides relate to running the NPHI, including such issues as leadership and management, health and safety of NPHI staff, and internal communications. These describe the ways the organization supports the conducting of its external-facing functions.

External-facing Discussion Guides often overlap with Core Public Health Functions, and include those activities designed to impact or engage people and organizations outside of the NPHI. These include functions like surveillance, public health research, and emergency response.

Each of the 28 Discussion Guides has the same structure: four stages (Basic, Developing, Advanced, and Leading Edge), including six domains per stage (Strategic Direction, Systems, Resources, Quality, Engagement, and Impact). Domain definitions are available here.

Discussion Guides definitions and notes

English  French  Portuguese  Spanish


Discussion Guides: External facing