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Guidelines for Successful Project Planning

Selecting a Project
You have taken the first step toward choosing, planning, and implementing a successful project by reading the information contained on this Web site. Before deciding on a course of action, here are a few things you’ll want to consider:

  • Assess community needs. Because your time and resources—and those of your fellow MSS members—are extremely valuable, your next step in planning a health education program or action project is to determine what issues need to be addressed. Besides considering your community needs, you will also want to consider what other groups are doing, and how you can fill in gaps between the needs and the services that exist in your community.
  • Determine a comfortable level of involvement. Not every effort has to be a multi-phased program. Sometimes even the smallest amount of funds, expertise, or resources can have a large impact.
  • Research surrounding issues. Choose an issue and brainstorm about who it affects and how. This will help you isolate related issues needing attention that often get overlooked.
  • Consider one person’s experience. You may be able to help an individual coping with AIDS, cancer, or another debilitating disease by providing a service that will make his or her experience a little easier. Target your audience. For projects geared toward awareness or education, think about your audience and how you’ll reach them most effectively, whether through your local media or via information posted in public places, physicians’ offices, the hospital, or local schools.

Doing Educational Programs
Planning educational programs accomplishes two goals at once—they are a great way to improve people’s awareness of health issues and they also increase the AMA's exposure in the community. Here are some planning tips:

  • Choose an interesting or timely topic
  • Contact your state or county medical society
  • Appoint your planning committee
  • Choose a date and time
  • Plan your location
  • Arrange your speakers
  • Set a registration fee
  • Invite fellow students and faculty
  • Contact the media
  • Consider physical arrangements

Designing Action Projects
Whether you are planning health screenings for the homeless or delivering food to the aged, the following steps will help you make certain your projects are effective in reaching your goals:

  • Select a project
  • Inform your fellow students and faculty
  • Contact your medical society
  • Appoint a committee
  • Identify your resources and needs
  • Establish goals
  • Plan a course of action
  • Evaluate the costs involved
  • Gather materials
  • Organize and train your volunteers
  • Publicize the project

Working with Schools
MSS programs can go a long way toward meeting the health education needs of pre-school, elementary, middle, and high school students. When you plan to work with a local school, there are a few things you will need to research first. Some things to inquire about include:

  • State policy on health education
  • Local policy on health education
  • Support from school administration
  • Support from teachers
  • Any possible hindrances
  • Influence by groups such as PTA, teachers’ union, and other key organizations

Once you have considered these issues and developed a proposed plan of action, your committee should meet with the school administrators, and possibly teachers, to present your plan