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Case Studies

Strategic Planning Process to Address Tobacco-Related Disparities in Arkansas


Healthy People 2010 Objectives Increase the number of tribes, territories, states, and District of Columbia with comprehensive, evidence-based tobacco control programs.
OSH Indicator Strategic plan to address tobacco-related disparities.
State Arkansas
Goals Identifying and Eliminating Tobacco-Related Disparities
Components N/A
Areas of Policy and/or Program Intervention Identifying and Eliminating Tobacco-Related Disparities
Audience/Population American Indians/Alaska Natives
General Public
Young Adults (18–24)
Other: Pregnant Women

Policy/Program Objectives of the Intervention

Arkansas' objective was to form a workgroup to advise the Arkansas Department of Health to eliminate tobacco related disparities and oversee the development of a strategic plan that the Department would implement.

Description of the Intervention

The Arkansas Department of Health convened a diverse workgroup to engage in a strategic planning process. The workgroup met nine times between March and December 2002 to review available data, identify populations with potential disparities and develop goals to reduce and eliminate tobacco-related disparities in Arkansas.

Personnel/Key Players/Resources Required for Conducting the Intervention

Team Leader: Responsible for supervising the overall implementation of the strategic planning process. Co-leader of the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program of the Arkansas Department of Health.

Project Coordinator: Responsible for coordinating the project. Federal Program Support Manager of the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program of the Arkansas Department of Health.

Assistant Project Coordinator: Responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Tobacco Disparities Workgroup project. Eliminating Disparities Health Program Analyst for the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program of the Arkansas Department of Health.

Facilitator (Contractor): Responsible for guiding and facilitating the group process. Consultant with 20 years experience in substance abuse prevention.

Evaluator (Contractor): Responsible for developing and implementing the formative and summative evaluation components of the strategic planning process. Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Arkansas.

Epidemiologist: Responsible for providing a variety of data among populations disparately affected by tobacco at the request of the workgroup. Epidemiologist with the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program of the Arkansas Department of Health.

Place Where the Intervention was Conducted

The workgroup met in Little Rock and most members of the workgroup represented organizations that were based in Little Rock, but each had statewide outreach services. The strategic plan was developed for the entire state of Arkansas.

Approximate Time Frame for Conducting the Intervention

The intervention—convening a diverse workgroup that developed a strategic plan to build capacity to eliminate tobacco-related disparities—began in January 2002 and ended in December 2002 comprising one year.

Summary of Implementation of the Intervention

The intervention—the strategic planning process—was conducted by a team of Department of Health employees, a facilitator and an evaluator. A diverse workgroup of nine members representing various populations in Arkansas met together nine times over a 10-month period to review available data regarding special populations in Arkansas and develop a strategic plan to reduce those disparities. In December 2002, the workgroup published the strategic plan, Tobacco Use among Special Populations: Putting the Pieces Together to Identify and Eliminate Disparities. The strategic plan identified seven goals and strategies for achieving each.

Summary of Evaluation/Outcome of Intervention

The primary purpose of the evaluation was to describe the formation and development of the Arkansas Tobacco Disparities workgroup and the process by which the strategic plan was developed. The evaluation described the workgroup’s main activities, efforts involved, and key players. Milestones reached through the workgroup’s efforts were documented and critical lessons learned during the process were communicated in the final case study.

The following were successfully completed:

  1. Convening and organizing the workgroup
  2. Identifying and taking stock of the populations disparately affected by tobacco in Arkansas
  3. Developing the strategic plan
  4. Adopting and refining the strategic plan
  5. Developing a plan of action for implementation of the strategic plan and translating it into action items.

Intervention's Applicability/Replicability/Recommendations for Other Sites

Arkansas process of developing the strategic plan for identifying and eliminating tobacco-related disparities is especially applicable to states that experience similar challenges:

  1. Disproportionately high rate of poverty
  2. Large segment of the population that has achieved only a moderate to low educational level
  3. Many rural communities that are difficult to reach
  4. Lack of community-based infrastructure.

Overview Notes

This case study was written by Colleta Reid, an Office on Smoking and Health Consultant, February 2004.


Page last modified 07/25/2007