U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention - Leading the effort to treat and prevent diabetes in American Indians and Alaska Natives

Creating Strong Diabetes Programs: Plan a Trip to Success!

Essential Elements icon
Essential Elements for Step 5: Develop Goals and Objectives

Once you have identified potential resources and possible activities, you are ready to set goals and SMART objectives.

Goals and Objectives down arrow up arrow

What is the difference between a goal and an objective?

  • Goals are the broad ambitions of the program.
  • Objectives are specific and support the program’s broad goal.

What are some characteristics of goals?

  • Very concise - usually one sentence.
  • Results-oriented and describe overarching aims that program wants to achieve.
  • Inclusive and do not limit program to specific activities or people served.

What are some examples of goals?

  • Improve A1c levels in our community.
  • Improve levels of physical activity in our community.
  • Increase awareness of diabetes in our community.
  • Decrease consumption of soda pop in our community.
  • Provide training in up-to-date diabetes care to all professional and paraprofessional health care givers.
  • Increase number of foot examinations among people with diabetes in our community.

What are some characteristics of objectives?

  • Clearly describe milestones necessary to achieve each goal.
  • Refer to specific, measurable results.
  • Describe how much of what specific activity will be accomplished by whom over what time period.
  • Each objective should be tied to data and to a result.
SMART Objectives down arrow up arrow

Writing SMART objectives will strengthen your program’s plan. SMART objectives require time to write and a good understanding of what the diabetes program will do, but in the end your diabetes program will have an easier time of demonstrating success. Remember, the resources, needs, activities, goals and objectives need to be tied together.

What are the SMART objectives?

S = Specific (this means “detailed and focused”)
M = Measurable (this means “able to be measured”)
A = Action-oriented (this means “doing a good activity that can be accomplished “)
R = Realistic (this means “reflects reality of the diabetes program and people with diabetes”)
T = Time-bound (this means “include a timeline for completion”)

What are the steps in writing a SMART objective?

  1. Write down a verb that corresponds to the Best Practice activity you want to do.
  2. Write down exactly what it is you will measure. For example, time, calories, percent fat, number of walks, number of sodas per day and so on.
  3. Write down the target (or specific) group you want to work with. For example, pre-school youth, youth K-6, elders, and so on.
  4. Write down what Best Practice activities your diabetes program has selected to do as an intervention. For example, promote physical activity in preschool through interactive video games that promote physical movement.
  5. Write down the baseline information. This information comes from existing data (audit data, survey, interviews and needs assessment).
  6. Write down the time frame that you want to accomplish this objective. For example, it may be the end of the school year, the end of the calendar year, the end of the fiscal year, or at six months or one year.

Why is it important to identify the target group* of your activities?

  • The target group is the focus of your plan and activities.
  • Does not include ALL groups in the community - you don’t have resources to target the whole community!

How do you identify the target group*?

  • Who is most at risk for developing diabetes or complications from diabetes?
  • Who are you most concerned about?
  • Use information from your needs assessment and stakeholders advice.

What are a few examples of SMART objectives?

  • To increase the percentage of people with A1c levels below 7.0% among people attending clinic from 30% to 50% by the end of the fiscal year.
  • To increase the number of minutes of physical activity among our local middle school children (grades 7-9) from less than 30 minutes every other day to 60 minutes every other day by the end of the school year.
  • To increase the percent of people that know that diabetes can be prevented from less than 20% to 90% by the end of the fiscal year.


Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention | Phone: 1-844-IHS-DDTP (1-844-447-3387) | diabetesprogram@ihs.gov