It's a matter of design: our theory of change.

Author:Evans, Tracy Wareing
Position:Director's memo - Column


In this issue of Policy & Practice we focus on the heart of our collective mission--the individuals, children, and families who embody the health and human system our members and their extended networks support every day. At the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), we continuously strive to deliver services and products that build the capacity of the system in ways that improve the lives of all people and strengthen their communities. As part of ongoing efforts to align those services and products with the opportunities and needs of members, we have expressly articulated our theory of change and reframed our work using proven values and metaphors as follows:

Theory of Change

Our work at APHSA is guided by this theory of change: We aim to continually increase the know-how of our members, staff, and partners to build system capacity and maximize human potential, so that we may:

* Create innovative strategies and tools and effective policies for health and human service practice, programs, and organizational functioning;

* Positively impact the social determinants of success in people's lives and mitigate trauma; and

* Generate a culture of social health and well-being in the United States.

Expressed as a metaphor, we aim to build human potential with the best construction and weather-proofing tools possible for people to thrive in a well-planned, resilient home and community.

Mission Focus for Building Know-How

Guided by this desired future state, our current mission focus for building know-how centers on:

* Neuroscience and other advances in understanding what strengthens and motivates people;

* Adaptive leadership;

* Multi-generational engagement and service principles; and

* Expanding our knowledge base through knowledge management, data, analytics, and return on investment (ROI) modeling.

Along with our current know-how in organizational effectiveness and many other areas, this enables us to stage and support demonstrations of innovation and impact through the Human Services Value Curve (1) progression toward:

* Optimal systems of care;

* Practice models;

* Policy and program designs; and

* Embedding space and support for ongoing innovation and continuous improvement within programs and funding streams.

Impacting Environmental and Behavioral Factors

Over time we aspire to positively impact:

* Environmental factors such as poverty rates, crime, use of the health care system, economic and employment...

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