Achieving Agency-Wide Tobacco Outreach Coordination


Impact Statement: 
Effective tobacco control and prevention outreach is vital to decreasing tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure, and tobacco-related disease rates. In addition, the loss of significant resources and funding for tobacco control and prevention have made it all the more important to have efficient coordination of these efforts across a jurisdiction. A state health department used multiple PDSA cycles to improve the coordination of messages and activities across tobacco control and prevention programs located within multiple divisions to improve public health system performance, reduce redundancy, improve the effective and efficient use of resources, and ultimately improve population health.

Several program areas within 5 of the 15 Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) divisions focus on reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke among adults and children. However, this work is not coordinated across divisions, resulting in inefficiencies in outreach efforts, including providing technical assistance, information, and referral; distributing grants/funds; ensuring compliance; distributing materials; collecting and analyzing data; and promoting events. The QI team used the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) methodology. The Plan stage consisted of defining coordination, identifying project metrics, conducting baseline surveys, and completing a current state analysis of tobacco outreach efforts within MDH. Two improvement theories were developed to focus on building relationships among staff to increase coordination across divisions. The Do phase involved testing a targeted staff directory and tobacco outreach networking events. These two interventions allowed staff to meet and learn about each other’s tobacco outreach work. The project team observed improvements in all metrics related to coordination, including exceeding the project aim, during the Study phase. A key accomplishment during the Act phase was sponsor approval of several recommendations to sustain this work. Five of the eight recommendations have agency-wide implications and reach, including adopting semiannual tobacco outreach events, adding staff photos to the agency directory and in Microsoft Outlook e-mails, inserting collaboration language in all position descriptions, and continuing to monitor the perceived authority to collaborate on the annual organizational survey.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 

Lenartz, S. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Achieving Agency-Wide Tobacco Outreach Coordination . Thu, 04/02/2015 - 13:41. Available at Accessed June 22, 2024.

Submission Status: 
0 users have voted.


cgizzi's picture
Submitted by cgizzi on

This is an interesting read. I think this project is relevant beyond tobacco to any health issue that is being addressed cross-divisionally in an agency. Nice work.

Cindan Gizzi, MPH
Community Assessment Manager
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Dept.

2 users have voted.

Submitted by margyrob on

I like the focus on coordination of our work across divisions - and using QI to address internal challenges with how we tackle problems. Often these challenges are overlooked in our focus on direct services to clients, but can be the biggest stumbling blocks.

0 users have voted.

Margy Robinson MPH
HIV Care Services Mgr.
Multnomah County Health Dept.
Portland, OR

Submitted by lkent on

This QI project shows the importance of having support at all levels when making improvements, from top management to program staff, and the importance of leadership valuing collaboration. I look forward to hearing the results from the 12-month follow-up survey, if you'll share them with us. As Cindan stated, this project is relevant to collaboration between divisions with other health issues.

1 user has voted.

Submitted by israahmad on

Great initiative! In the re coordination process, it might be interesting to see where electronic cigarettes and other nicotine dispensing devices fall in your community and whether those products should also be looked into.

0 users have voted.
Link to the resource where this submission is also published: