Online Program

Application of Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) Analysis for the Prioritization of Community Health Program Objectives

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Albert Romanosky, MD, PhD, Office of Preparedness and Response, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore, MD
Kimberly Eshleman, MPH, Office of Preparedness and Response, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore, MD
Rachel Gallo, MPH, Office of Preparedness and Response, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore, MD


An often overlooked and poorly understood aspect of community health is the importance of public health emergency preparedness, which, impacts not only policy development within PH programs but also has a direct affect on the wellbeing of communities prior to, during and following public heath emergencies/disasters.  


In anticipation of an outbreak of Ebola in Maryland, OPR conducted six tabletop exercises across Maryland.  OPR canvassed participants using a SWOT Analysis based on-line survey tool to assess various public health preparedness capabilities which could directly affect the department's ability to protect community's health during an emerging infectious disease incident.  The number and frequency of comments made for each SWOT category under each capability was determined.  The relationship between capabilities within the SWOT categories was tabulated, as well as the relationship of capabilities across SWOT categories.  Lastly, a mathematical computation was utilized to assess the relative insufficiencies vs competencies for each capability.


Capability analysis demonstrated that Incident Management was a  frequently cited strength and opportunity; ranking low as a weakness and threat.  Whereas, Resource Management ranked low as a strength, but rated highly as a weakness and threat.  Determination of relative gaps between these capabilities resulted in a +11% vs. -43% for Incident and Resource Management respectively.  Thus, indicating greater insufficiencies and gaps in Resource compared to Incident Management.  Therefore, community health efforts should focus on resource management.


Utilization and application of SWOT analysis permits quantitative evaluation of effectiveness for prioritizing public health program objectives with significant community impact.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain to public health officials the novel application of Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis to public health disaster preparedness and its potential application to traditional public health activities; Demonstrate how data and information from Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis based upon surveys of stakeholders and partners can be utilized to help prioritize public health planning objectives and goals; Evaluate how SWOT analysis can be applied to the assessment and identification of corrective actions, sustainment activities and plan improvements for community health programs; Identify a skill set for quantitative gap analysis and evaluation of community public health program effectiveness.

Keyword(s): Emergency Preparedness, Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator on the HHS ASPR HPP cooperative agreement. In addition, I am the Medical Director and state emergency preparedness coordinator for the Office of Preparedness and Response.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.