The five-year State Health Improvement Plan, also known as the SHIP, will combine the data from the State Health Assessment, completed earlier in 2018, with strategies to improve health outcomes and reduce inequities in five priority areas. The five areas are chronic disease, early childhood, mental health, oral health, and substance use disorder. The SHIP is designed for partners across agencies and in multiple sectors.

In five years, if we have successfully worked towards achieving health equity, what would we have accomplished?

Read our vision for the future

Meetings and Agendas

Steering Committee Agenda - June 2017
Steering Committee Minutes - June 2017
Steering Committee Agenda - July 2017
Steering Committee Minutes - July 2017
Advisory Committee: Invited Organizations - July 2017
Advisory Committee Agenda - July 2017
Advisory Committee: Slide Deck - July 2017
Advisory Committee: Worksheets - July 2017
Advisory Committee: Tabletop Instructions - July 2017
Advisory Committee: Vision for the Future (Activity Notes) - July 2017
Advisory Committee: Forces of Change Summary - July 2017
Steering Committee Agenda - October 2017
Advisory Committee Agenda - October 2017
Advisory Committee: Vision for the Future (Revised) - October 2017
Advisory Committee: Meeting Summary - October 2017
Advisory Committee: Slide Deck - October 2017
Advisory Committee: Data Feedback - October 2017
Advisory Committee: Community Assets - October 2017
Advisory Committee Out Engagement - October 2017
Steering Committee Agenda - January 2018
Steering Committee Minutes - January 2018
Advisory Committee Agenda - March 2018
Advisory Committee: Meeting Summary - March 2018
Advisory Committee: Rating Criteria - March 2018
Advisory Committee: Slide Deck - March 2018
Steering Committee Agenda - May 2018
Steering Committee Minutes - May 2018
Steering Committee: Recommendation Priorities - May 2018
Steering Committee Notes - October 2018
Steering Committee Draft SHIP Outline - October 2018
Advisory Committee Agenda - November 2018
Advisory Committee Strategies - November 2018
Advisory Committee Ratings and Results - November 2018
Steering Committee Agenda - November 2018
Steering Committee: Draft - November 2018 Recommendations - November 2018


Questions and Answers
What are the SHA and SHIP? Data and priorities

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.

SHA: How did you choose what data was ‘important’? Why don’t I see _________ addressed?

The health department handles much more data than you see in this assessment–see links above. The goal of the State Health Assessment is to focus on health equity. We selected four “Populations in Focus”–people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people living with disabilities, and people living in poverty. The other highlighted issues are those where Vermonters are faring worse than people in other states or the data is moving in the wrong direction. 

Health issues that are not in State Health Assessment remain important. The health department and our partners will continue to work to create opportunities for health for all Vermonters.

SHIP: What was the process for choosing SHIP priorities?

The goal is to identify 3-5 issues that the health department, other state partners, and a wide range of community advisors see the need and opportunity for improvement if we all “row in the same direction.”  All of the issues identified in the State Health Assessment were rated by staff at the department of health and members of the Advisory Committee using the following criteria:

  • Magnitude: To what degree is it a significant public health issue?

  • Impact on Equity: To what degree is it a significant health equity issue?

  • Economic and Social Cost: To what degree does it create economic and social challenges?

  • Feasibility for Change: To what degree are we able to act and make change?

Take a look at the March Advisory Committee Meeting Summary for more information about the process.

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 supporting them with data 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. 

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

We approach the updating through 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 in 2018.

Who is on the Advisory Committee?

We invited over 140 organizations to participate, and the organizations listed in this document were able to send representatives to the Advisory Committee meetings.

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. We are always looking for additional partners. If you did not participate in this process but would be interested in partnering to address health equity and our SHIP priorities please let us know.

Who else is engaged?

Some Advisory Committee members were not able to attend the committee meetings or preferred participating and communicating in a smaller group. 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.

Last Updated: April 28, 2023