Assess & Plan: 2017 SHA/SHIP Process

We want you to see how we're planning to assess and improve health in Vermont. Our State Health Assessment (SHA) and State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) are up for review and renewal this year. Check back here for meeting agendas and other planning documents as we go through this process.


Current State Health Assessment draft pages:


Title Date Type
03/14/2018 PDF Download
Infectious Disease
03/14/2018 PDF Download
03/14/2018 PDF Download
Chronic Disease
03/14/2018 PDF Download
Child and Family Health
03/14/2018 PDF Download
Populations in Focus
03/14/2018 PDF Download
Access to Care
03/19/2018 PDF Download
Meeting Agendas, Minutes and Materials

Questions and Answers

What are the SHA and SHIP? What’s the difference?

SHA = State Health Assessment = what do we know?
SHIP = State Health Improvement Plan = what are we going to do about it?

The SHA takes data from around the state and presents it in a way that summarizes the main health issues facing Vermonters. The SHIP takes that information and pares it down to 3-5 priorities that the state will focus on for the next five years.

SHA: where does the data come from? Can I find ALL data about Vermont health here?

We will be relying primarily on data the Health Department collects, such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), birth and death certificates, and hospital discharge data. No, the SHA does not present all the health data about Vermont, and it does not have information about performance. The SHA is a selection of important data about population level health. For information about all the data available through the Health Department, see the Data Encyclopedia.

SHIP: what about this other important priority?

The SHIP is a state level plan. It’s a way for multiple organizations to coordinate on issues where we have an opportunity to improve the lives of Vermonters and have a high impact. Limiting the number of priorities and putting data behind it allows us to get all of Vermont working on solving the same issues. This does not stop us from doing the rest of our work: the Department of Health and other state agencies and community organizations continue to do other important work.

How do we make and update the SHA and SHIP and who is involved?

How often do we update the SHA and the SHIP?

We update the plans every five years. In the meantime, the Health Department and partners continue to collect, analyze and report data. To ensure continuous review and quality improvement, the implementation of the SHIP is tracked in an interactive scorecard.

In an update year like this one, what’s the timeline?

There’s a timeline graphic at the bottom of this page with the broad categories of plan, assess, synthesize, and publish. Some explanation about each of those phases:

Plan: the Steering Committee is formed, and this committee makes decisions about the update process itself.

Assess: this is the main phase in which the data for the SHA (State Health Assessment) is gathered, as well as information from the community about what health issues are important to Vermonters today. This year, we’ve intentionally taken a health equity approach. With guidance from the steering committee of state and non-state partners, the Health Department put together an Advisory Committee with a wide variety of community partners. The group met to discuss health equity and the challenges facing Vermonters, and will meet a second time to see the data and help narrow down priorities for the SHIP.

Synthesize: Synthesis is putting things together. The information from the data sources and the input of the community will be put together to form the State Health Assessment and the State Health Improvement Plan.

Publish: The SHA and SHIP will be published by the target date of January 2018.

Who is on the Advisory Committee?

In the Meeting Agendas, Minutes and Materials section, you can find documents about who attended each meeting. Specifically, you can view the original Invited Organizations list.

How was the Advisory Committee chosen?

The initial invitee list was generated by talking to our programs within the Department of Health and listing our partners that we currently work with and that we need to work with in the future in pursuing our mission to protect and promote the best health for all Vermonters. Additionally, with guidance from our Health Equity Coordinator, we reviewed the list to ensure that we included voices from populations who experience or are at risk of experiencing health inequity.

Who else is engaged?

Some Advisory Committee members were not able to attend the committee meetings or require more in depth conversations. The large Advisory Committee meetings are our “In” engagement. We also coordinated “Out” engagement where we went and met with people in the community, focusing again on populations who experience or may be at risk of experiencing health inequity. Because populations who experience or are at risk of experiencing health inequity have too often in the past not been fully included in engagement and analysis of our work, we will make every effort to ensure they are represented in this work in ways that feel comfortable to them.  

What did the Advisory Committee talk about in the meetings?

Notes and minutes are available from the Advisory Committee meetings; see that section at the bottom of this page. Specifically of note, the vision for the future and summary of forces of change documents are good summaries of what we talked about and what the participants had to say.


How does this relate to me…

…as a Vermonter?

You can see how our state is doing. We’re all in this together. This is about improving the health of our people, our communities, and our state. Thank you for your interest in this project, and contact us if you have questions or comments.

…as an organization that works with Vermonters?

You can look at the State Health Assessment and use the information to make decisions. You can use the State Health Improvement Plan priorities to target efforts and work across sectors as we work as a state to improve the health of Vermonters.

…as an employee of the State of Vermont?

The SHA can continue to ground us in data. It consolidates many topics to support comparisons, discussion, and data-driven decision making.

The SHIP can help us set priorities in our work and advocate for resources. It puts us on the same page as our partners, who are using the same plan. It helps us accomplish our goals.

The SHIP priorities are the state level plan; we still have our own department and division level plans. These plans work together. Just because we have these priorities doesn’t mean we’re leaving behind the other good work we need to do. Using these plans is a good way to focus our work using data, doing those things within our control to improve the health of Vermonters.