In April 2005, the Department of Public Health launched the Healthy CT/Healthy DPH, an employee-based workplace enhancement initiative to create a better Department of Public Health that could better serve the people of Connecticut.  Several months into the process, the initiative is proving to be a sustainable approach to fostering a more positive and productive workplace.   

“I am very pleased with the work that has gone into the Healthy DPH initiative,” stated DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H.  “Through this process, we have developed a shared vision for the future of the department, as well as strategies to achieve that vision.” 

The Healthy CT/Healthy DPH program resulted from Commissioner Galvin’s desire to create a “healthy work environment,” one that would foster positive attitudes and productive work among all of the agency’s employees.  This initiative drew from specific models in democratic practice – particularly study circles and community action forums – to accomplish its objectives.

Healthy CT/Healthy DPH involved a number of steps, beginning with the creation of a leadership team that drew from all divisions across the agency and involved individuals both with and without positional authority.  Employees participated in a series of “community forums” in which they were asked to share their vision for a healthy work environment and a healthy state. 

From that process, study groups narrowed the agency’s central issues to: leadership, communications, infrastructure, training and professional development, diversity, and public image.  The result was a new strategic plan, a revised mission and vision statement, a “leadership profile” that was adopted by the agency as a guideline for all agency employees, and short-term and long-term tasks that must be undertaken to improve the agency’s service and work environment.   

Since the adoption of the strategic plan, a new diverse group of facilitators have been trained to facilitate study groups for management, human resources, laboratory services, diversity, contracts and grants, and information technology.  Their collective responsibility is to guide ongoing efforts/initiatives to strengthen internal decision-making processes and develop active and effective leaders throughout the agency.

Finally and perhaps most significantly, this initiative led to the creation of the Healthy CT/Healthy DPH workgroup that serves to monitor the progress of the strategic plan, organize study groups, troubleshoot, and play an ombudsman role within the agency.