Illinois Department of Public Health Weighs In on CDC’s Core SVIPP Comprehensive Index Tool

Hello! I am Jennifer Martin from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Illinois’s Injury and Violence Prevention Program was one of the early testers of the Violence and Injury Prevention: Comprehensive Index Tool (VIP: CIT). The VIP: CIT is an index that uses questions and a rubric to help users assess the strengths, gaps, and barriers for their strategic plans. The VIP: CIT covers many injury-prevention relevant topics, including partnerships, data, health disparities, policy and regulations, and program evaluation.

Illinois is one of the CDC’s Core State Violence and Injury Prevention Program partners (Core SVIPP). CDC funds states to support injury and violence prevention strategies across four topic areas and over many infrastructure components such as surveillance, evaluation, and strategic planning.

Core SVIPP requires states to create or update our strategic plan for addressing injury and violence. Our CDC partners let us know they were drafting the VIP: CIT as guidance for this requirement just as we were creating our new strategic plan. What timing!

What was happening: Illinois used the VIP: CIT a little differently than some of the other state partners who were only making small adjustments to their existing plans. We needed a fresh start for our strategic plan, but we weren’t really sure where to start. And, to be honest, the VIP: CIT has a lot of information, and reviewing the tool was a lot to take in.

But, upon taking a closer look, here’s what we noticed about Illinois’s plan and the VIP: CIT:

  • The VIP: CIT tool provided direction and guidance for key concepts necessary for a strong injury and violence prevention strategic plan.
  • The VIP: CIT clearly identified tasks our staff should work on in parallel to developing goals and objectives with a larger stakeholder audience. For example, the tool highlights the importance of policies aligned with best practices, so we decided to identify injury-related policies in Illinois statute as we pulled our planning partners together. Understanding policies and gaps around best practices, permitted us to bring additional partners to the table around implementation needs and gaps.
  • The VIP: CIT helped our team identify items that we should track throughout the planning process.

What we learned: Our internal group of strategic planners realized that the VIP: CIT could serve a more immediate function for our long-term planning project. We could use this tool to communicate with our external partners. Often, it is not the internal agreement that is complex for us. It is more complex aligning our goals, objectives, and strategies with our partners’ diverse wishes and desires. Meeting and aligning these needs can feel insurmountable, especially when program limitations are also in place.

We learned that the tool could be used in flexible, non-traditional ways and still be impactful, as long as partnerships and ongoing dialog are at the heart of the planning process. For instance, the VIP: CIT helped us start those conversations by providing a structure and a framework for components of a strong plan, including integrating data with practice and ensuring that Illinois’s unique concerns were accounted for within those conversations. We also used the VIP: CIT to lay out the new strategic planning process and timeline.

What action can be taken: The VIP: CIT helped us realize the importance of strategic planning. It showed us the value of continuous engagement with our partners to ensure plan cohesion and engaged partnerships with high buy-in for our path moving forward. We highly recommend using the VIP: CIT for planning purposes, and you can read more about the tool as well as download it and the rubric.

Good luck with your next strategic planning adventure!

Injury and Violence Prevention

See: Wilson, Lauren; Deokar, Angela J.; Zaesim, Araya; More. Development of a Comprehensive and Interactive Tool to Inform State Violence and Injury Prevention Plans. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. 24:S59-S66, January/February 2018.


Read the full issue of our special supplement Catalyzing State Public Health Agency Actions to Prevent Injury and Violence.

Jennifer Martin

Jennifer Martin, MSW, serves as the Injury and Violence Prevention Project Manager for the Illinois Department of Public Health. She has coordinated unintentional and intentional injury projects for over sixteen years. She currently oversees the Core State Violence and Injury Prevention project. She is the state designee to the Safe States Alliance, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.