Step Two: Laying the Groundwork

CHAP Steps to Success: STEP 2: Laying the Groundwork:

There can never be too many physicians, pharmacists and community organizations who support the CHAP initiative.  Recruiting CHAP Volunteers is equally important, as they run the sessions and are the backbone of CHAP. Another critical component of the CHAP initiative is to ensure you have a Designated CHAP Health Care Professional ((A ‘Designated CHAP Health Care Professional’ is anyone whose scope of practice includes assessing blood pressure.  This may include a pharmacist, physician, nurse, nurse practitioner or registered practical nurse (RPN).  In other CHAP communities, a public health nurse has filled this role.)) to oversee the Volunteer training and to be available for the CHAP sessions.

E) Involve local physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers


CHAP supports primary care.  The recruitment of physicians and pharmacists to participate in and promote CHAP is very important.  They need be aware of CHAP’s value to their practices, actively refer patients to CHAP sessions and provide timely and appropriate follow-up with diagnosis and treatment for their patients. These two professional groups are a major building block for implementing and sustaining CHAP in your community.

One of the most effective strategies previous CHAP programs have used to recruit physicians and pharmacists is to use a local opinion leader within that profession in your community.  (See Appendices 4 and 5.)

Working with: PHYSICIANS

When working with any physician it is very important to stress that CHAP is evidence-based and adheres to Hypertension Canada Guidelines.  Be sure to welcome discussion and feedback from their own clinical experience.

How to Recruit Community Physicians:

  • Ask to be added as an agenda item to an existing physician meeting or invite physicians to a CHAP information session.
  • Mail letters to local physicians and follow up with phone calls and office visits.

You may need to approach physicians more than once to get  a high level of participation.  Appendix 3 includes a sample presentation for stakeholders, (Appendix 3.1, Information Session Sample Presentation) including physicians, which can be modified to suit your audience and the time you have available.

If you know a physician opinion leader, you may want to ask them to invite other physicians to attend a CHAP information session. The invitation letter should briefly introduce CHAP and outline the format for the session, using:

  • Physician’s Letter of Invitation to Information Session (Appendix 4.1), and
  • CHAP Fact Sheet (Appendix 2.2).

When  you meet with the physicians, (as a group, or individually)  hand out:

  • CHAP Session Blood Pressure Protocol (Appendix 4.4)
  • Family Physician Frequently Asked Questions (Appendix 4.3)
  • CHAP Essential Elements (Appendix 3.4)
  • Risk Profile Recording Form (Appendix 7.3)
  • Patient Blood Pressure Alert Form (Appendix 7.6)
  • Physician Letter of Understanding (Appendix 4.5)

Letters, Phone Calls and Follow-up Visits :Try a personalized visit or phone call to introduce CHAP to a physician’s office staff. Send an information package including:

  • CHAP Fact Sheet (Appendix 2.2),
  • Family Physician Frequently Asked Questions (Appendix 4.3) and
  • CHAP Session Blood Pressure Protocol (Appendix 4.4)

The Local CHAP Coordinator Family Physician Recruitment Guide  (Appendix 4.1) should be used to ensure all details are covered.  If some physicians indicate that they still do not wish to participate, follow-up with them again.  The new numbers of participating physicians may persuade the non-participating physicians to reconsider CHAP at that time.

Working with: PHARMACISTS   

If your CHAP initiative will be held in pharmacies, it is easier and more effective to contact each pharmacist personally to discuss CHAP.  The Local CHAP Coordinator Pharmacist  Recruitment Guide  (Appendix 5.1) should be used to ensure all details are covered.

The following method has been found to be effective:

  • After an introductory phone call, send a copy of the following:
    • Community Pharmacist Information Sheet (Appendix 5.2)
    • CHAP Essential Elements (Appendix 3.4)
    • CHAP Session Blood Pressure Protocol (Appendix 4.4)
    • Blank CHAP Pharmacist Assessment Form (Appendix 5.3)
    • Pharmacist Letter of Understanding (Appendix 5.4)
  • During the meeting with the pharmacist or pharmacy owner:
    • Discuss CHAP in more detail. Provide the CHAP Fact Sheet (Appendix 2.2)
    • Review the Community Pharmacist Information Sheet (Appendix 5.2)
    • Review the CHAP Session Blood Pressure Protocol (Appendix 4.4)
    • Review the Completed CHAP Pharmacist Assessment Form Example (Appendix 5.3.1)
    • Review the Patient Blood Pressure Alert Form (Appendix 7.6)
    • Discuss and sign the Pharmacist Letter of Understanding (Appendix 5.4).
    • If the pharmacy will be hosting some of the CHAP sessions, determine the exact location within the pharmacy where CHAP will be set up, as well as the times and dates for CHAP sessions.
    • Ask whether the pharmacist would be willing to staple a copy of the CHAP session schedule to participant’s prescription bags. Prepare several copies of the session schedule as samples for them to use.  If they agree, provide them with more copies as required.
  • After the meeting with the pharmacist or pharmacy owner:
    • Send a thank you letter and include a copy of the signed Pharmacist Letter of Understanding (Appendix 5.4).
  • Confirm the schedule for CHAP sessions.
  • Follow up with each pharmacy regarding CHAP session set-up by phone and email.
  • Provide evaluation opportunity every 6 months or at the end of the CHAP sessions (Appendix 8.3)


Family Health Teams (FHT)/ Groupe de Medecine De Famille (GMF):

CHAP is an established strategy for cardiovascular disease prevention and management that embraces partnerships between health care providers and resources in communities.  Many  interdisciplinary primary care clinics (e.g.Family Health Teams (FHTs) in Ontario,  (GMFs) in Quebec)  already have similar initiatives to serve their patients and communities.  CHAP offers the necessary resources, tools and systems for primary care teams to offer a sustainable program to address risk factors for cardiovascular disease. CHAP can be tailored to the expertise of providers and the needs of patients and the local community while maintaining its standardized components / essential elements. See Appendix 3.4  for CHAP Essential Elements.

F) Identify community settings to host CHAP sessions:

You will need one or more locations to run the CHAP sessions.  Each CHAP community is unique and sessions have been held in pharmacies, Family Health Team/Ontario Health Team offices, community centres, subsidized housing buildings, places of worship, workplaces, shopping  malls, and CLSCs (centres locaux de services communautaires, Quebec), to name a few. Organizations with similar mandates may be excellent settings to host CHAP sessions themselves or suggest other potential venues.  Refer to your Community Profile for ideas on who to approach.

The site for the CHAP sessions should be easily accessible and ideally be on a public transit route, in addition to having ample free parking.  It should be welcoming and well lit, and have enough space to accommodate the set up for a CHAP session.  It should have tables and chairs available, or enough room for their storage between sessions. See Appendix 3.2 (Sample Request Letter to CHAP Session Sites) as an introduction to ask an organization if they may be interested in hosting.

All logistics, including the duration of the sessions, frequency, and scheduling should be agreed and confirmed with the local host organization before CHAP sessions  begin.  A written agreement should be drawn up by the to Local CHAP Coordinator to ensure the arrangement is clear between the CHAP session host organization and CHAP Local Lead Organization. (See Appendix 3.3, CHAP Session Site Agreement)

G) Recruit CHAP Volunteers:

CHAP Volunteers are the backbone of CHAP.  Their role is invaluable to the success of CHAP in each community. Without CHAP Volunteers, the initiative can not run.

Refer to your community profile for a list of groups to contact to recruit volunteers.  These groups may include volunteer organizations, service clubs, hospitals, Colleges or Universities, seniors’ community centers, and church groups.  Recruitment Strategies may include:

  • Advertise on local radio stations or newspapers volunteer pages: (Volunteer Recruitment Sample Media Release, Appendix 2.3) Advertise in the local newspaper with the Volunteer Recruitment Sample Poster (Appendix 2.4)
  • Advertise on the CHAP Local Lead Organization’s social media accounts. (Appendix 2.8, Social Media Posts Samples)
  • Inclusion on the local Volunteer Centre’s database (Prior contact and meeting with local volunteer organizations to outline CHAP’s program and requirements is essential)
  • Publish on current newsletters/ other media for the local Volunteer Centre
  • Distribute posters about CHAP in the various locations where adults gather and include a tear-off telephone number and name for more information about CHAP. (Eg. Senior’s centres, community centres, libraries, places of worship, public recreation facilities)
  • Ask to be put on the agenda of speaking engagements to adults to promote CHAP and its opportunity for volunteers ( see Appendix 6.1 Volunteer Recruitment Presentation)

As you recruit volunteers, record all contact information, including how they heard about CHAP.

Each volunteer should receive

  • CHAP Volunteer Letter of Understanding (Appendix 6.4)
  • CHAP Fact Sheet (Appendix 2.2)

Once your list of volunteers is confirmed, start to coordinate volunteer training sessions.

[1]  A ‘CHAP Designated Health Care Professional’ is anyone whose scope of practice includes assessing blood pressure.  This may include a pharmacist, physician, nurse, nurse practitioner or registered practical nurse (RPN).  In other CHAP communities, a public health nurse has filled this role.