Tribal Self-Governance Health Care and Social Services Delivery Effectiveness Evaluation Feasibility Study: Draft Work Plan. Task 1. Project Initiation and Ongoing Communications


1.1 Initial Project Meeting

The initial project meeting was held on September 30, 2002. The Meeting Agenda and Meeting Summary is included, for reference, in Appendix A of this Work Plan.

1.2 Establish Technical Work Group

The criteria developed for the composition of the TWG, during the initial project meeting, included:

4-5 Tribal leaders;

4-5 Tribal program staff experts with hands-on experience including an emphasis on financial management personnel (e.g., CPA experience;

1 data expert (subsequently amended); and

1 researcher (subsequently amended).

It was also agreed that efforts will be made to choose TWG members who represent large tribes, small tribes, and Tribal associations; also that the Tribal program staff selected should include those with experience with Head Start and TANF programs, as well as health programs. In addition, the composition of the TWG will reflect geographic diversity. A process will be initiated to contact knowledgeable individuals from Tribal organizations and the federal government to solicit names of potential TWG candidates.

A preliminary list of potential TWG members was prepared and submitted to the TOM, during the week of December 12, 2002(1). After discussion of this preliminary list, and additional recommendations from OASPE, a final list of potential candidates will be prepared and submitted to the TOM for approval. Because it may be difficult to obtain agreement to participate from all of the people identified, at least two potential candidates will be provided for each category of expertise. The TOM will be asked to indicate which of these two candidates should be approached first about participation; if that candidate cannot participate then the alternate candidate will be asked to participate.

The recruitment process for the TWG will include: 1) a packet of materials describing the study and the role of the TWG, with a letter from OASPE inviting the individual to serve on the TWG (to be sent by FedEx); 2) one of the Co-Principal Investigators will contact the individual by telephone, within 2 days after the packet is sent, to discuss the project, answer any questions, and obtain their agreement to participate; and 3) a formal agreement to participate, specifying the details of participation, the TWG member's role, and the honorarium to be paid, will be sent to each TWG member.

The original schedule for the first meeting of the TWG would have required it to be held two weeks before Christmas (Week 12 of the project). It was agreed during the initial project meeting that this timing was not optimal, and a decision was made to re-schedule this first TWG meeting (to the first week in February).

A Draft Agenda for the First TWG Meeting was distributed for review prior to the initial project meeting. Discussion of the draft agenda produced agreement on three changes.

During the initial 'Introductions/Welcome' session, ground rules for participation of non-TWG members in the discussion would be established;

At the close of the 'Project Overview' session, each TWG member would be asked to provide their individual definitions of 'Self-Governance' and to identify key issues for Self-Governance that they think are most important;

A "brainstorming" session would be held at the end of the first day to identify priority topics for the breakout groups on the second day.

The Revised Agenda for the First TWG Meeting, incorporating these changes, is presented in Appendix B to this report.

1.3 Ongoing Communications

Communications between the government TOM, the project staff, and interested individuals and groups representing AI/AN interests are of critical importance for this project. Preliminary suggestions for ongoing communications discussed at the initial project meeting included:

· A monthly conference call with the TOM to discuss progress and outstanding issues;

· Preparing a summary of the monthly conference call, documenting issues and progress, that would be sent to the TOM for approval and then sent to each TWG member and any other interested individuals;

· Disseminating final versions of all reports, once approved by the TOM, to each TWG member and other interested individuals;

· Contacting AI/AN organizations (e.g., National Council of American Indians; National Indian Health Board, Indian Health Service) and requesting that they post information about the study, including contact information for the Co-Principal Investigators and the OASPE TOM;

· If invited, the Co-Principal Investigators will also agree to do a presentation on the goals and methodology of the study at national conferences of AI/AN organizations.


The discussion of the project communications strategy at the initial project meeting also suggested that the DHHS website established for the project continue to broadcast what is happening with the project. It was also suggested that a link be established from the IHS website to the project website. The project team and government staff on this initial conference call agreed to have a monthly conference call and minutes will be distributed to participants and posted on the website. Communications with Tribal leaders about the project will begin with dissemination of a one-page project description and a letter inviting comments and questions, with a contact list and the DHHS website address. (A draft of the project description and letter are presented in Appendix C.) A complete Communications Strategy Report will be prepared and submitted to the TOM by Week 6 of the project.

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