Health Department Illinois Project for Local Assessment of Needs

History of IPLAN

In 1988, the Illinois public health community adopted the Public Health Charter for Illinois, establishing that the mission of public health in the state is to fulfill society's interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy. Governmental public health agencies have a specific responsibility to ensure that a system is in place to allow the public health mission to be achieved. The Illinois Department of Public Health had taken a leadership role in redirecting the Illinois public health system to focus on achieving successful implementation of the core public health functions at the community level. These functions, which follow the basic premise, were set forth in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Public Health, and the Illinois Public Health Charter. They are assessment, policy development, and assurance.

In addition to defining the public health mission and describing core functions, the Public Health Charter establishes several important principles, including the need for reform and restructuring of public health services in Illinois to improve our ability to achieve the public health mission. In this restructured system, a certified LHD is a local governmental agency that carries out the core functions of public health within its jurisdiction. The LHD leads its community in articulating and meeting the health needs of the population it serves. The development and assurance of public health programs that maintain or improve the health of the population, whether targeted at individuals or the entire community, is the responsibility of an LHD.

The Structure of IPLAN

The Illinois Department of Public Health committed funds in the fall of 1992 from the Preventative Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant. These funds supported a series of planning activities to be conducted within health department jurisdictions resulting in the development of organizational capacity assessments, community health needs assessments and community health plans. This process is known as the Illinois Project for Local Assessment of Needs, or IPLAN, its essential elements include the following:

  1.  An organizational capacity assessment using the Assessment Protocol for Excellence in Public Health (APEXPH), Part
  2.  Community health needs assessment, the minimum content of which is structured by community health indicators composed of:
  • An analysis of data elements to identify community health problems for the total population and substantial minority populations;
  • The establishment of a process for community involvement and participation by forming a Community Health Committee and
  • The identification of priority health problems from the findings in the community health needs assessment; and

3. Development of a community health plan focusing on at least the three highest priority health problems, including

  • Analysis of risk factors, contributing factors, and community health resources available to address the problems;
  • Establishment of measurable health objectives and intervention strategies to correct the problems; and
  • Adoption of the community health plan by the local board of health.

By conducting IPLAN, LHDs can meet most of the practice standards for certification.

IPLAN for LaSalle County Health Department

The Health Department's IPLAN was accomplished by the formation of a Community Health Committee. This Community Health Committee was made up of individuals who had knowledge of community health problems as a person who lived and worked in LaSalle County. The Community Health Committee members identified three priority community health problems. A community Health Problem is defined as "a situation or condition of people which is considered undesirable, is likely to exist in the future, and is measured as death, disease or disability."