Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the SDT created?

National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) sometimes struggle to define the most critical next steps that will improve capacity for core public health functions and effective and efficient internal operations. To fill this gap, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), with the assistance from a consultative group of NPHI leaders from around the world, developed a Staged Development Tool (SDT). The tool helps NPHIs assess their current capacity and develop a roadmap for achieving a higher level of functioning.

What is the Staged Development Tool?

The SDT is a process and toolkit to help NPHIs function at a higher level. It involves three steps:

  1. Assess
  2. Prioritize
  3. Plan 

28 Discussion Guides have been developed to help NPHIs determine their maturity in priority areas and identify areas for improvement. The Discussion Guides are based on a maturity model or the idea that for a given topic, NPHIs exhibit different levels of maturity or development. By providing examples of what these maturity stages look like, Discussion Guides facilitate conversations that help participants clarify their NPHI’s current state, desired state, and major gaps that need to be addressed to move to their ideal state. NPHIs can reapply the SDT assessment at different time intervals to determine if the steps taken to address gaps led to significant improvements in capacity.

A full description of the SDT, its various components, and when to use them can be accessed in the SDT Background and Description.

Who can use the SDT?

  • The SDT can be used by established NPHIs or during establishment of an NPHI, if it is clear what groups and people will comprise the NPHI
  • Groups that are using the NPHI need to have identified priority areas for improvement. These can relate to public health functions or to internal issues, such as leadership and management. 

Who can assist with using the SDT?

A trained facilitator is highly recommended.

  • The SDT process is designed to be facilitated, either by an internal or external facilitator
  • An external facilitator trained on how to use the tool is recommended, especially if the NPHI is using the SDT for the first time. An external facilitator offers the following advantages:
    • Knowledge of maturity models
    • Familiarity with Discussion Guides, terms used, and NPHI functions
    • Ability to offer fresh perspectives and relevant experiences
    • Ability to remain neutral, if difficult issues arise (e.g., in discussion of leadership and management)
    • Ability to step back and make sure the big picture guides all activities

The following slide presentation, the "Facilitator's Guide", details preparation of the process and use of the tool-kit for running the SDT assessment and work‐planning sessions. It is designed for use by individuals who intend to facilitate. 

Follow the links below to access the PDF versions of the Facilitator's Guide.

English | Additional languages will be available soon.

Contact IANPHI's SDT group sdt@ianphi.org or CDC's NPHI Program nphisdt@cdc.gov if you have any comments or questions

Use of the Staged Development Tool for Developing NPHIs

The SDT was created to help NPHIs assess their current capacity and develop roadmaps for achieving a higher level of functioning. This article discusses the current use of the SDT by national public health institutes.

Read the full article here