Health Promotion Switzerland


2011 Sophie Frei (The challenge of complexity)
Mrs Frei, you are at the head of Suisse Balance since 2009 and are currently funding 9 projects in the area of physical activity and nutrition. How is quality an issue in your job? We assure and develop quality on a daily basis, both on the conceptual and content level. For example, when we examine funding applications for projects we apply criteria regarding the project’s suitability and quality. These sets of criteria are regularly reviewed and updated so that they are in line with current scientific knowledge. We also make sure that applicants are aware of lessons learned from ongoing and previous projects, so that these insights are incorporated early in the application process and reflected in the planning and management of any new project. What does Suisse Balance actually do to ensure both the quality and the quality development of its projects? Last year, we started to use an on-line tool for project applications and reports. It is based on quint-essenz and was specially adapted for the needs of the Suisse Balance programme. Project managers receive help and guidance in project management and practical support with the on-line tool. We aim at the best possible quality for projects by seeking active communication with project managers from the very beginning. We also try to use the outcome model of Health Promotion Switzerland. It is a useful tool for positioning, planning, managing and evaluating the various projects. Suisse Balance provides project leaders with the possibility of seeking a professional, external evaluation consultancy. What do you consider your biggest current challenges in the implementation of health promotion projects? For me, a major challenge is still to reach certain vulnerable groups such as socially disadvantaged children and young people and their parents. Another challenge is the complexity of the topic as mentioned in this editorial article and the resulting difficulty in providing proof for effectiveness. Another difficulty is the sustainable integration of successful examples in existing structures. Other challenges are to keep an overview of the many projects on nutrition and physical activity taking place in Switzerland, to position ourselves in the field and to identify and support good quality projects that merit being implemented more widely. Looking back on your time with Suisse Balance – apart from using criteria for quality such as the ones developed by quint-essenz, what other elements contribute, in your opinion, to the quality of projects? Due recognition for individuals’ outstanding commitment as well as exchange, networking and cooperation! You have been using the quint-essenz platform for several years - where do you see the benefits for your work? On a personal level, quint-essenz helps me to acquire or improve my knowledge of project management and quality development in health promotion and prevention. It also provides the basis for our outcome management, sets the standard for our quality criteria, was the blueprint for the Suisse Balance on-line tool and is a practical tool with many useful documents and templates.
2011 Marianne Steiner-Gygli (Systematics – the challenge)
Marianne Steiner-Gygli, you are the head of the state specialist agency ‘Addiction Prevention Aargau’ in Aarau, Switzerland. How important is quality development for you and your organization? Since 2008 we have been working with the EFQM model. EFQM views quality development as an interaction between people, processes and outcomes. People work in processes and obtain results for other people! Quality development has a very high priority in our office. It permeates all areas of work and encourages customer feedback. It is an on-going, lively topic in everyday life. What are you doing specifically to assure and develop quality in your projects? What role does quint-essenz play? We work with measurable, meaningful - and for us as employees - interesting, challenging and attractive objectives in all areas. This means that there are annual objectives for the unit as a whole, for specific, areas of work, for projects, for target groups and for employees’ personal development. The objectives and the underlying processes are in accordance with the desired key results, which are: to provide guidance and information for our customers and to initiate long-term prevention processes in organizations and communities. I always keep these key results in mind and my management tools (meetings, retreats, knowledge management, training, appraisal interviews, etc.) are all designed to achieve this. Quality has become a normal part of our work and a matter of course. Knowledge management plays an important role. Obviously, it is presented on paper, but it is actually a way of collaboration and mutual feedback, a flow and connection of what is going on in our minds. It supports quality assurance and development. When we developed our own project tools we based them on quint-essenz. They are used in relation to project processes. The project management tool from quint-essenz is a bit too cumbersome for us and clicking through everything takes too much time. It takes a great deal of time to arrange things in the way we need them. But all our services have policies and procedures that are based on the fundamentals of quint-essenz. Thus, we have incorporated quint-essenz into EFQM and aligned our efforts with it. In what way is quality improvement worth the effort? What are the benefits for your organization and your projects? Quality development is challenging and stimulating. It leads to dynamic and interesting ideas and offers options for solutions. We learn and are motivated by the process. The development of quality requires real effort, but the benefits ultimately facilitate everyday working life. We are always working towards key results. Whatever is not geared towards key results makes no sense. The effort was great at first, but it is worth it, if, as a result, quality becomes a natural part of everyday work and if it helps to improve and consolidate certain aspects. What would you recommend to other agencies that are responsible for disease prevention and health promotion in respect of quality development? A quality development system should be installed and implemented in a way in which teams will willingly join in. The tools of quality management should be as easy to explain and analyse as possible. Most importantly, it seems to me that quality must become a non-negotiable aspects of daily working life, and something that spurs ambition, which leads to debates, disputes, and joy and pride in one's own performance and achievements as a team.
2012 Katrin Meier (Future Community)
Ms Meier, what are your main responsibilities in your work as campaign manager at the Swiss Institute for Child Protection? As a national organization, the Swiss Institute for Child Protection campaigns in all parts of the country for children in our society to grow up in dignity, for their rights to be safeguarded and their integrity protected. At the institute I am responsible for developing a concept and a rationale for the national campaign for an upbringing free from violence. The campaign is intended to raise awareness among and provide information to parents, children and the general public on the subject of physical and psychological abuse. One way we offer alternative childrearing methods is by promoting and strengthening parental education. The campaign should have an impact in terms of both preventive health care and the promotion of good health. Congratulations, you are the 200th professional to open a public profile on quint-essenz! Why did you join quint-essenz? I felt that the quint-essenz project management tool would be helpful for the professional development of my campaign. I therefore attended a quint-essenz training session at which I also became aware of the Community feature. In both prevention and health promotion, networking and interaction are important components that I would like to further develop. At quint-essenz the project management tool is conveniently linked with the Community. This connection enables a project, once created, to be easily published so that others may respond to it. What do you hope to achieve from quint-essenz? Where do you see the potential in the Community? I'm still a relative newcomer to the Community, but I hope that being a member will enable me to extend my network. In my opinion, an upbringing free from violence is not only a child protection issue, but also belongs to the broad area of public health. For this reason I am hoping that the quint-essenz Community will enable me to experience interesting discussions and approaches from a wider perspective. Experience to date shows that many users would like to have the benefits of quint-essenz, but are less prepared to contribute to the platform themselves. What are you prepared to bring to the Community personally? Firstly, I intend to stay constantly up to date with the current state of the campaign, and for this reason I am planning to create a project profile on the Community as soon as the campaign is officially launched. Secondly, at the Institute we are planning to develop our online communication further and will be looking to see which facilities quint-essenz can offer us generally in this area. What are your wishes for the future of the quint-essenz Community? It would be good if the interdisciplinary exchange of expertise could be strengthened.
2013 Douglas Gonzalez (Project management)
 Mr Gonzalez, you work as a project manager for the regional programme Ça Marche, "Bouger plus, Manger mieux !" ("Be more active, eat more healthily!") in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland. What are your main responsibilities? For the regional programme, I was asked to develop and implement a project to promote physical exercise and healthy eating, aimed at migrant populations. The multicultural project "Mon Assiette, Mes Baskets" aims to become firmly established among migrant populations and communities. Networking with partners and participants of the scheme is essential in order to tackle sensitive issues such as obesity, nutrition, exercise and fitness. Wherever possible, I try to open up activities to a wide range of migrants and non-migrants. Together we look at three areas. Exercise is covered by Nordic walking, organised walks in the local area, dancing, theme-based excursions and, twice every six months, a pedometer-based activity. These activities are aimed at reintroducing or showcasing the role of exercise in everyday life. For the areas of nutrition and health, we invite external partners along to food-based events where participants can get involved in cooking and share tips on grocery shopping, and to health workshops, where participants undergo a health assessment and are given helpful advice. This gives you an idea of how diverse my work is, ranging from networking, making new contacts and being hands-on, to organising, planning and building partnerships. While my experience of community work has proven to be invaluable, my background in engineering has been essential for organising my work and the various projects. Because I'm responsible for the programme's annual calendar of events, I have to set short and medium-term goals. At the same time, I'm constantly on the lookout for active partners I can recruit in the local area, as well as funding. I have to forge relationships with key people both in migration and in government agencies that deal with health and consumer rights, as well as in local and regional government and other public bodies. The fact that the programme is conducted under the aegis of Ligues de la Santé, the local health association, is therefore crucial. This gives me direct access to programmes such as Allez Hop Romandie and Fourchette Verte. I'm also lucky enough to have a dynamic and open-minded group of colleagues. I run exercise workshops and organise walks, I co-host cookery workshops and events and liaise with participants. This forces me to keep my feet on the ground. Finally, I handle evaluations and write activity and management reports. I enjoy having to be in two places at the same time, but you need the right tools to do this. In your opinion, what are the main challenges (obstacles) involved in managing a project? To understand the challenges I face, you need to bear in mind that I work in community healthcare. The biggest challenge is coming up with a wide range of activities that participants can do in their spare time. We also need to manage their expectations, and be responsive and flexible so that our ideas and proposals are tailored and relevant. Finally, we have to be able to reconcile the milestones imposed by our sponsors with the practical aspects. How do you personally address these challenges? Flexibility and adaptability are essential. Having the right contacts, being confident and being committed to providing a good service are key. You can't be complacent about it. It is important to be extremely open-minded and to have good negotiating skills, both with the participant base and with partners and sponsors. In your opinion, what are the best management tools? I use mind maps a lot to visualise how the project will be structured with the group. Meetings and briefing sessions are important in order to fine-tune things. Finally, the more traditional project management tools, such as Gantt charts and dashboards, are also useful. These can be created using various tools and software applications (Excel, Mind View, XMind, etc.), but the Quint-essenz project management tool can be used to share the creation and definition of projects online, which is particularly useful during the planning process. What advice would you give to someone with no experience who wants to become a project manager? What should they focus on in particular? It is difficult to give advice without knowing the context. However, I can draw various lessons from past experience. Things never go to plan, so you have to be flexible. You also have to be a good listener, but stay on track. This means focusing on the strategic aspects and long-term vision of the project. At the same time, you need to be tactically adept so that you always react in a way that is relevant and appropriate. The project manager has to provide direction, but must also have faith in partners and colleagues. The project manager has to remember that he or she is not the repository of all knowledge, but is there to facilitate knowledge transfer. To merit a place in the project and to earn respect, everyone must be given a bit of breathing space so that they can deliver their best performance.
2013 Judith Hübscher-Stettler & Doris Grauwiler (Quality in organizations)
Judit Hübscher-Stettler, you are the Health Promotion and Prevention Officer for the canton of Thurgau. How important is quality in health promotion and prevention in your canton? *Hübscher-Stettler:* Quality is very important. One of the guiding principles in Thurgau's health promotion concept requires health promotion programmes and projects to comply with recognized quality criteria and follow performance-oriented models that have been tried and tested in practice. In light of dwindling resources, quality assurance will become even more important: if available resources are to be utilized effectively and efficiently, the quality and effectiveness of the various programmes, projects and services must be checked and ensured. How is this put into practice? *Hübscher-Stettler:* First of all, we need to create an understanding among decision-makers for the framework conditions necessary to producing quality. Service providers also need to be made more aware of the issue of quality, although we must bear in mind that they are not all on the same level in this respect: some organizations are still dealing with quality in terms of their structures and processes while others can already begin to focus on the quality of their results. Where do you meet with resistance and how do you deal with it? *Hübscher-Stettler:* The challenge here is to provide the various stakeholder groups with services which meet the different quality requirements using the available resources. In other words, we need to demand and promote quality in relation to what is practically feasible and affordable. This is a process that can be furthered by applying practical and practice-oriented tools as well as a sense of proportion regarding quality demands. Doris Grauwiler, as the Head of the Health Promotion and Prevention Unit at Perspektive Thurgau, you are currently involved in the combined implementation of the two quality tools quint-essenz and module X QuaTheDA in your organization. Where do you see the potential of combining these two quality systems? *Grauwiler*: The biggest potential of the combination lies in the area of conception, development and implementation of services (QuaTheDA module X/2). Through its requirements, QuaTheDA defines the framework, as it were, while quint-essenz provides the content through its criteria and instruments. What will be the biggest challenges in this respect? *Grauwiler:* The biggest challenge is the fact that health promotion and prevention do not appear as separate areas in QuaTheDA and "Health promotion, prevention, early detection and early intervention" is treated as an area of activity within addiction support. The question is therefore whether QuaTheDA accords the area of health promotion and prevention enough latitude and development potential. What recommendations or tips you can give to institutions wanting to secure and further the quality of their projects? *Grauwiler:* We are right at the beginning. We are focusing on quality assurance for health promotion projects as a self-contained area and are then trying to link this to QuaTheDA in such a way that these requirements are also met. We are confident it will work because we are aligning our core task with the project quality criteria and tools of quint-essenz. A more or less systematic application of quint-essenz throughout all stages of a project, starting at the project rationale through to planning, implementation and evaluation, provides a professional foundation for projects and also fulfils the QuaTheDA requirements. For interdisciplinary organizations such as Perspektive Thurgau, which is already certified in the area of addiction, this combination is a viable path to follow.
2015 Christian Jordi (Opportunities and risks in projects and programs)
 Christian Jordi, you have been the head of the management services division of Health Promotion Switzerland since November 2014. You are also responsible for the foundation’s risk management. In concrete terms, what is risk management? Risk management is a management function that is often subsumed under the term‚ Corporate Governance. It comprises two main elements. These are strategic risks, such as environmental and reputational risks, and operational risks, such as budget overruns or errors due to unclear procedures. Operational risks are recognized by the internal control system (ICS), which also is a part of the ordinary audit. Can you cite examples of risks that have been identified by Health Promotion Switzerland? Negative media coverage that would harm the reputation of Health Promotion Switzerland is an external risk, for example. A further threat is the possibility of not reaching too ambitious outcome targets. Staff absences due to illness or injury are examples of internal risk. And how is Health Promotion Switzerland concretely dealing with these risks? The foundation’s strategic orientation and performance is assessed quarterly by the executive board, using our management information system. The results are communicated to the board of trustees. In addition, the strategy committee and the audit committee (drawn from the board of trustees) examine the development of the strategy on an annual basis. What is your advice to professionals who would like to establish risk management in their own organization? Materiality is one of the fundamental requirements. Risk management should identify the most important risks and give them highest priority. In addition, risk management needs to be lived, i.e., familiar to all employees and verifiable by auditing. Finally, the size of the risk and the probability of its occurrence should be quantifiable, if possible. A last question: Besides risks, is it also possible to identify opportunities? Where there are risks, there also are opportunities. A SWOT analysis (analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) can identify and affect them. Health Promotion Switzerland actively follows developments in the field and tries to identify and exploit windows of opportunities. For this purpose, it is active in various networks and in close contact with decision makers in politics, government, business and non-profit organizations. Policy developments are constantly and systematically monitored. In addition, we collect and continually evaluate the latest scientific knowledge in our subject areas.
Last modification: 13 May, 2015 11:29