July 2010
Using MAPP to Get Up & Go! in St. Clair County
A New Way of Doing Business
St. Clair County Health Department
(IL), as a county health department
in Illinois subject to the state’s Illinois
Project for Local Assessment of Needs
requirements,1 was well-versed
in strategic planning when staff first learned of Mobilizing
for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP). While
partnerships and collaboration were not new to St. Clair, with
more than 60 health and human service organizations rooted
in the county, MAPP presented a unique opportunity to engage
community members and partners in collective assessment,
planning, and action. Now, six years since the first MAPP
meeting, the process is continuing to generate excitement as
community members and local leaders collectively confront
some of the most challenging public health issues.
Over the course of nine months, the St. Clair Health Care
Commission, an appointed body that serves as the MAPP
Steering Committee, facilitated a community visioning process,
assessment design, and data collection and analysis. Findings
from the four MAPP assessments were then used to identify six
strategic issues that, when addressed, will help St. Clair County
achieve its shared vision of a healthy community. Data points
from the county’s Community Themes & Strengths Assessment
revealed perceived disparities in quality of life, safety risks, and a
need to more effectively engage young people.2 Based on these
data points and data from the other three MAPP assessments,
a need for greater community connections emerged as the first
strategic issue on the county’s to-do list.
St. Clair County is part of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area and
is composed of urban, suburban, and rural landscapes. St.
Clair encompasses more than 650 square miles and is home to
260,000 residents. Socio-economic and environmental diversity
define the region. Brownfields from former heavy industry,
impoverished communities experiencing significant health
inequities, and St. Louis “bedroom communities” all exist within
the same county lines. Community leaders knew that cultivating
a cohesive sense of community might be difficult in this varied
From Planning to Action
MAPP stakeholders began by developing an asset map3 to
identify attributes that contribute to community connectedness
in pockets of the county. Once equipped with a more
acute understanding of the components that contribute
to a shared sense of community in St. Clair, stakeholders
began generating ideas for how to actualize community
connectedness throughout the county. With assessment data
in hand, stakeholders crafted a plan to improve community
connectedness by collectively addressing two of the county’s
priority health issues: troubling rates of cardiovascular and
respiratory diseases.
The “Get Up & Go! Campaign” was conceived to answer
the question “How can the county’s healthcare community
create a broader sense of community connectedness?”
MAPP stakeholders developed a blueprint for a 30-day fitness
challenge designed to catalyze new investments in personal and
community health and well-being. Within several months, the
Get Up & Go! committee garnered two grants to promote the
campaign, and a local Web designer was enlisted to develop
the campaign’s website, which now features announcements
about local fitness events and resources, accounts of participant
activities, local officials’ endorsements, and links to online
Getting Active and Getting
Healthy Together
With thousands of website hits, a growing cadre of volunteers,
and the pledged support of 13 of 19 mayors throughout
the county, the campaign held its official kick-off event the
following spring. The event included blood pressure and weight
screenings and a group walk to dedicate a new walking trail. In
less than a year, the campaign galvanized 110 teams—as small
as a single family and as large as an entire town—representing
23,000 individuals to join the effort to Get Up & Go!5
Two years after the official launch, the campaign was selected
to join the YMCA’s national “Pioneering Healthy Communities”
initiative. As a result, community leaders were funded to
participate in a national policy training in Washington, DC,
and the campaign received a grant to develop policy-level
strategies to nurture healthy lifestyles and promote community
connectedness in St. Clair. The Get Up & Go! campaign has
since expanded from a 30-day challenge to an entire season of
community events driven by growing partnerships among local
government, community-based organizations, and residents.
In addition, the campaign, now a free-standing coalition, has
expanded to include a “policy arm” that recently hosted a
community-wide health policy summit and has developed
workgroups to begin assessing and implementing policy-level
healthy eating and active living strategies.
Beyond the anticipated outcomes, health department leaders
argue that the MAPP process and associated campaign have
nurtured goodwill between local mayors and county leadership
and improved the county’s ability to respond to public health
emergencies. According to St. Clair County Health Department
Executive Director Kevin Hutchison:
“Relationships we developed through MAPP partnerships
were extremely helpful during actual public health
emergencies such as major power outages resulting from
ice storms and the HINI pandemic. These relationships
add distinct value to a local health department’s ability to
rapidly engage community partners and provide a unified
foundation for the local public health system response to a
public health emergency. MAPP is not something else we
have to do. It is what we do in public health. It’s not an
extra step or another task; it’s the essence of good public
health practice.”
Moving Forward
Stakeholders in St. Clair County are preparing to launch a
second iteration of MAPP and are anxious to build stronger
evaluation components into their process and more rigorously
measure the impact of their work on health outcomes and
community connections. When asked about the greatest
outcomes of the process to date, Mark Peters, St. Clair County
Health Department Director of Community Health replied, “We
are much more community-minded, and I think the community
is much more public health-minded.”
1. The Illinois Project for Local Assessment of Needs (IPLAN) is
a community health assessment and planning process that
is conducted every five years by local health jurisdictions in
Illinois. To learn more about IPLAN, visit http://app.idph.
2. Arras, R. and Peters, M. (2009). “Health Education in
Practice | Using MAPP to Connect Communities: One
County’s Story.” The Health Educator. 41.2: 77–84.
3. To learn more about asset mapping, visit the Community
Themes & Strengths Assessment portion of the MAPP
Clearinghouse of Resources at
4. Arras, R. and Peters, M. (2009).
5. Ibid.
“MAPP is not something else we have to do.
It is what we do in public health. It’s not an
extra step or another task; it’s the essence of
good public health practice.”
Funding for this fact sheet was provided by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention under Cooperative Agreement
Numbers 5U38HM000449-02 and HM08-80502CONT09.
The contents of this document are solely the responsibility of
NACCHO and do not necessarily represent the official views of
the sponsor.
Julia Joh Elligers, MPH
MAPP Program Manager
p (202) 507-4234
[email protected]
To learn more about MAPP in St. Clair County, visit
To learn more about St. Clair County’s Get Up & Go! campaign,
The mission of the National Association of County and City Health Officials
(NACCHO) is to be a leader, partner, catalyst, and voice for local health
departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and
equity, combat disease, and improve the quality and length of all lives.
1100 17th St, NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
P (202) 783 5550 F (202) 783 1583