Quality Improvement Coaching to Build Capacity Within Health Departments

Professional man sits at a desk working on a computer.

Local health department quality improvement projects get a boost from distance-based coaching.

The Issue:

With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Network of Public Health Institutes began the Strengthening the Community of Practice for Public Health Improvement (COPPHI) project. The goal of the project is to nurture and expand a community of practice that is continuously improving the quality of public health departments, one of the standards and measures mandated by the Public Health Accreditation Board.

The COPPHI awards small grants ($5,000) and individualized coaching for health departments to engage in quality improvement (QI) projects that address locally identified priorities related to accreditation. Project topics ranged from communicable diseases, food safety, and maternal and child health to patient safety and teen pregnancy.

Key Findings

  • Coaches spent from 5.6 hours to 14 hours per site.

  • Some 80 of survey respondents found distance-based QI coaching effective.

  • All sites reported increased experience with QI processes, including developing an aim statement, and collecting and analyzing data.


QI activity increased with participating departments during and beyond the grant period.

About the Study:

Survey data was collected from 30 sites and 9 coaches who participated in the first award cycle.