OHA Public Health Change Modernization Project

Case Study

Oregon is on a journey to modernize public health. Over the past three years, Oregon Public Health Division (PHD) commenced several individual systems, processes, and programmatic exchanges towards this modernization. However, the lack of coordination and strategic effort at a division level to ensure changes were being made facilitated the need for an external consultant to develop an organizational change plan for the division. 

In 2019, Coraggio Group was hired to work with the PHD Director’s office to create a comprehensive, long-term change management plan to help transition the state public health workforce to a modern public health system. The change plan was focused on the Division’s culture and prepared the culture for the operational and fiscal changes needed to support a modern public health practice framework. 

Between March and December 2019, Coraggio worked with Division leadership team (executive leadership team and key initiative staff) and a group of change agents (a mix of staff and managers from a variety of roles) from across the Division to conduct organizational and initiative specific change assessments and created a change management plan based on the results. 

Coraggio led a series of change assessment and planning sessions with both the leadership team and the change agents. In these sessions, both groups had the opportunity to modify the 12 foundational shifts, prioritize which of the shifts should be addressed in the initial change plan, conduct organizational and shift-specific assessments, and generate ideas for the change plan. 

Early in the process, participants identified the need for more clarity on both the call for change (the “why”) and the change we would hope to see because of this work (the desired outcome). To bring greater clarity to participants around these topics, Coraggio facilitated small group discussions at a leadership team session about the call for change, key three-year mileposts, the impact to different PHD Centers and how the organizational pieces fit together to make modernization work. One of the key outputs of these conversations, was a Vision Map that became an important artifact in establishing a shared vision and understanding of the change. 

Finally, both the leadership team and the change agents had the opportunity to contribute actions and mileposts for the seven steps of the organizational change plan. Each team shared ideas about sponsorship, communications, and technical assistance. The results of these conversation were incorporated into a detailed workplan and supplemented with guidance from established change management methods. The workplan identified roles for leadership, managers, change agents and staff to transition the system through improved leadership, communications, mentorship, and resources. The workplan included: 

  • High level change with goals, objectives, and yearly milestones 
  • Implementation steps for the first two years of organizational change 
  • Evaluation planning 

With the rapid evolution of Public Health due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundational elements established through our partnership with PHD have helped accelerate the plan and changes for PHD to live into the vision of their journey to a modern public health practice framework.