Stage One: Assess

What is this stage?

Assess key factors related to your population, environment and organization.

How does it influence sustainability?

Information gathered at the Assess Stage provides the foundation for understanding the determinants of population outcomes and environmental factors that will influence your program’s success.

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A critical component for sustaining a successful and impactful program is understanding, not only the needs and risk factors relevant to your target population, but the environment in which a program will be implemented. This information will lay the foundation for building a successful program.

During this stage, it is important to assess:

  • The need, risk factors or health disparities associated with your target population.
  • The key determinants that contribute to risk and disparities that affect your target population.
  • State, local and/or organizational policies and guidelines that will influence the implementation of a program.
  • The capacity of your organization to implement and sustain programs – this might include: supportive leadership, staff knowledge and skills, resources, etc.
  • Existing partnerships and collaborations with key stakeholders (including representatives of your target population and agencies and individuals with a vested interest) that will support implementation and sustainability.

Data can be gathered from various sources, such as state or local surveillance (e.g. Youth Risk Behavior Survey) or by conducting your own surveys, focus groups or interviews. These data are essential for demonstrating the need for your program and gaining buy-in and support from funders, key stakeholders, partners and leaders within your own organization. Before you move on to the next stage, you may need to address limitations identified during assessment stage.

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