Case Studies

Qualitative Research

The City and County of San Francisco has been at the forefront of national HIV prevention efforts since the disease was first discovered in the early 1980s. The HIV Prevention Section (now a part of the Community Health Equity & Promotion Branch) of the San Francisco Department of Public Health has provided oversight, funding support, and general policy and administrative leadership of the HIV prevention response citywide, in partnership with community-based organizations as well as public and private medical providers.
We work with our clients to develop and implement a strategy for gathering critical information they can use to tailor programs, increase capacity, improve patient satisfaction, and more.

In 2011, the HIV Prevention Section hired Facente Consulting to complete a thorough qualitative assessment of the capacity-building needs, as well as the potential assets available to meet those needs in a severely resource-restricted era. Over a period of six months, Facente Consulting staff conducted one-on-one qualitative interviews, focus groups, and targeted SurveyMonkeyTM surveys. Data were gathered from 5 groups of people: staff from the HIV Prevention Section, members of the HIV Prevention Planning Council (a community planning group), service providers in community-organizations and other sections of the health department, medical providers in public clinics, and representatives from training agencies and capacity-building assistance (CBA) providers.
During and after the data collection period, we compiled themes from the qualitative research, shared preliminary findings with HIV Prevention Section staff to ensure that all concerns had been addressed and all necessary context had been gathered, then prepared a final 24-page report complete with a series of 34 feasible and concrete recommendations to increase capacity with minimal financial resources. The project closed with the submission of two final documents (one for internal use and one for community-wide distribution) and a series of presentations to various staff and community stakeholders.

Needs Assessments

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland

Family Care Network Needs Assessment

Facente Consulting Lead: Dara Geckeler


The Family Care Network (FCN) is funded by Ryan White Part D to provide primary care and support services to women, infants, children, and youth (WICY) living with HIV in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. In 2019, FCN contracted with Facente Consulting to conduct a needs assessment to better understand how best to meet the needs of WICY, including trans women and trans youth, who use FCN services. The assessment explored client needs using a whole-health (not just HIV-focused) approach, recognizing that physical, social, emotional, and spiritual health are all important. Facente Consulting used a mixed-methods approach to get client and service provider input, including:
  • A quantitative client self-administered survey on clients’ medical, social, emotional, and personal needs
  • Semi-structured client focus groups and one-on-one interviews regarding their experiences with services and gaps in care
  • Semi-structured focus group and one-on-one meetings with FCN providers on their perceptions of client needs
The final report distilled and synthesized the data into eight key needs, including personal and spiritual well-being, social connectedness, an end to HIV-related stigma, and skilled and culturally humble service providers. By taking a whole-person approach to the assessment, Facente Consulting was able to show that clients’ needs and desires go beyond the boundaries of what is traditionally considered HIV care. The detailed description of each need was accompanied by actionable recommendations, which the FCN will use to improve services and inform future grant applications.
Acknowledgments: Facente Consulting partnered with Lyn Paleo of Evaluation, Research and Training on this project.

Meeting Facilitation

San Francisco Department of Public Health

Methamphetamine Task Force

Facente Consulting Lead: Shelley Facente


In February 2019, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman called for the creation of a Methamphetamine Task Force (Meth Task Force), coordinated by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH). The Meth Task Force was composed of multi-disciplinary stakeholders and partners from a variety of sectors, including medical and public health professionals, researchers, substance use disorder treatment providers, emergency responders, criminal justice and law enforcement officials, drug policy experts, and people with current and/or former experience of meth use. The Meth Task Force was charged with developing and releasing a comprehensive report with recommendations that would lead to a reduction in the medical and social impacts of methamphetamine use on San Franciscans. 
Facente Consulting’s role was to facilitate four half-day Meth Task Force meetings between April and September 2019, as well as to participate in biweekly planning meetings to ensure the Task Force was as productive as possible. As the facilitator, Shelley Facente navigated through the multiple stakeholders and power dynamics in the room, while also making sure there was active participation from the 22 members and successful delivery of the final report. For this and other facilitation projects, Facente Consulting guides meetings with the group’s objectives and priorities in mind, while also adapting in the moment to the group environment and the changing needs that may occur during meetings, such as when group members want to expand on a topic or discuss concerns. We act as neutral facilitators, making sure to recognize the expertise in the room and maintain an objective role in supporting groups to reach consensus and move final decisions forward. The meetings resulted in a robust set of recommendations to improve how San Francisco addresses meth use, which were included in the final report.
Meth Task Force Final Report, produced by the SFDPH Office of Policy and Planning

Strategic Planning

In late 2012, the Latino Programs division of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF) decided they wanted to undergo a one-day, brief strategic planning process to help guide the future of their program. This planning process would help clarify their direction prior to applying for crucial funding from the federal government. SFAF hired Facente Consulting to facilitate that strategic planning process.
We help our clients develop a solid strategy and foundation for future growth.

The strategic planning process included 6 hours of preparation work, leading up to a 4-hour planning session with current SFAF staff, plus a 2-hour session with external stakeholders (other HIV-related Latino-specific service providers in San Francisco). The SFAF team focused on a review of what was already known, a discussion of existing opportunities and challenges for the program, and an examination of data points that are unknown and important to collect, including why and how they should be collected. Following this groundwork, the team began to explore what they thought Latino Programs should look like in 5 years, and how that aligned with the overall Strategic Goals of SFAF. Utilizing an interactive activity using post-it notes to generate and organize thoughts and themes from all participants, the team discussed their specific target population, mission and vision, as well as conceptualizing future programs and activities.
After the group had settled on the ideal target programs and activities, it was time to develop a plan to achieve that vision. This included discussions about staffing, relationship with other service providers, strategic partnerships that should be pursued, needed commitments from SFAF as a whole, potential funding sources, evaluation strategies, succession planning, and a reasonable timeline in which to achieve those milestones.
The day closed with the addition of external stakeholders to the room, so the entire group could discuss together about HIV-related services currently provided to Latinos in San Francisco, the group’s perspective on how Latino Programs fits into the landscape of other service providers, the vision for Latino Programs in the future, and the collective to-do list to help realize those goals. In the end, notes and materials were provided to SFAF to support their future discussion and planning as they progressed through the next 5 years of Latino Programs’ evolution.

Strategic Facilitation

San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership (SFHIP)

Facente Consulting Leads: Dara Geckeler and Jose Jimenez


The San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership (SFHIP) is a collaboration whose mission is to improve community health and wellness in San Francisco through collective impact. SFHIP is a cross-sector collaboration composed of:
  • Mission-driven ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS committed to leveraging their economic power to improve community health and well-being
  • HEALTH EQUITY COALITIONS grounded in the lived experience and resilience of communities experiencing health inequities
  • FUNDERS dedicated to improving community health
  • EDUCATIONAL, FAITH-BASED, and SERVICE PROVIDER networks and institutions making a difference in the everyday lives of residents
Every three years SFHIP completes a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). The CHNA serves as an important tool for educating service providers and the public about the top health needs of San Franciscans. It also identifies key health priorities for the City and County, with the goal of encouraging organizations across all sectors to align their efforts to address the needs and tackle health inequities. In 2019, the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California (an SFHIP participating organization) contracted with Facente Consulting to provide strategic and project management support to SFHIP. Facente Consulting staff serve as the consistent thread, connecting the many moving parts of SFHIP’s planning efforts, action agenda, operations, and external relationships. In order to support effective functioning of the SFHIP collaborative and lead the transformation of ideas to actions, Facente Consulting has implemented standard tools and processes that promote communication, decision-making, and consensus-building. These methods include: designing agendas and presentations that stimulate forward movement on SFHIP’s key priorities and action items; creating mechanisms to track SFHIP’s action items and decisions made; and developing a structured orientation for new members. In order to strategically plan for the future, Facente Consulting guides SFHIP through a process of developing, implementing, and evaluating its annual priorities and activities, building on past successes and lessons learned. We provide strong and inclusive facilitation to help SFHIP achieve its goals, while maintaining a neutral perspective – we support SFHIP to drive their own process.

Program Evaluation

San Francisco Community Health Center

LGBTQ+ Tobacco Control Program

Facente Consulting Lead: Autumn Albers

2018 - 2023

San Francisco Community Health Center’s LGBTQ+ Tobacco Control Program (TCP) is a 5-year, California Tobacco Control Program-funded project that aims to reduce tobacco-related health disparities among the LGBTQ+ community. Program activities include community health education, community organizing, and advocacy for tobacco-free policies in the San Francisco Bay Area. 
We work with organizations to help them understand where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going.

Facente Consulting is responsible for all LGBTQ+ TCP evaluation activities, working in partnership with SFCHC to understand the landscape of tobacco in the San Francisco Bay Area and to assess progress towards program objectives. Facente Consulting conducts key informant interviews with policymakers and LGBTQ+ opinion leaders, administers surveys to gauge public opinion on tobacco policy, implements consumer testing of new tobacco-related educational materials, and leads and evaluates project-related trainings.

Palm card made by SFCHC, in partnership with the Tobacco Education Clearinghouse of California, as part of the LGBTQ+ TCP

Emergency Preparedness Planning

Marion County Public Health Department

Continuity of Operations Workshop and Tabletop Exercise

Facente Consulting Lead: Cindy Maxim


In the summer of 2019, Marion County Public Health Department in Indiana contracted with Facente Consulting to provide a Continuity of Operations (COOP) Workshop and Tabletop Exercise for public health and medical stakeholder agencies. This day-long event guided participants through the process of developing or updating a COOP plan, and the exercise helped them test and validate their existing plans.
We work with our clients to ensure that their plans are up to date and functional – so that they are prepared to respond in a real emergency.

Facente Consulting, in collaboration with Quality Perspectives, partnered with Public Health Department staff to provide a HSEEP-compliant workshop and exercise to more than 30 participants from diverse functional groups. We facilitated a challenging but realistic exercise scenario designed to prepare the County for a sustained power outage. Our agenda, materials, and presentations were crafted to encourage full participant engagement, including real-time interactive polls and table discussions, in order to help build the peer relationships necessary for a well-coordinated emergency response. At the conclusion of the project, we produced an After Action Report with actionable recommendations.

Online Training Development

Yuba County Health and Human Services Department

Pre-Event Online Training for County Employees

Facente Consulting Lead: Cindy Maxim


In the spring of 2019, Yuba County Health and Human Services Department in northern California contracted with Facente Consulting to update several of their emergency preparedness plans and develop a pre-event training module for County employees. The purpose of the training was to orient employees who might be activated in an emergency – including an overview of public health emergency response and Incident Command System principles, what participating in a response is like, and important highlights from the plan updates.
We help find user-friendly, flexible, and interactive ways for our clients to communicate important information with their employees or with others in the community.

Ongoing in-person training sessions are not usually practical because they take substantial time and resources, especially if there is staff turnover and training needs to be repeated frequently. Facente Consulting developed an interactive online training that could be completed by employees on their own time, at their own pace, and in their preferred location – including smartphones, tablets, home computers, or other non-office settings. The training was built using Articulate 360™ software, and features vivid visuals, an interactive training exercise, and a short quiz to test knowledge at the end of the training, before credit is awarded to each employee. Facente Consulting assisted with content development, then designed and built the Articulate training (including voiceover), providing a ready-to-go module for Yuba County employees.

Presentations and Training

San Francisco Department of Public Health, Center for Learning and Innovation, and Florida Department of Health

Florida PrEP Institutes

Facente Consulting Lead: Shelley Facente

2017 - 2018

In 2012, a groundbreaking new HIV prevention technology became available called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or "PrEP.” When HIV-negative people take PrEP as prescribed, it is more than 99% effective at preventing HIV infection. Health departments and organizations throughout the U.S. have been working hard to get the word out about PrEP to communities of people at risk for HIV.

We help implement trainings locally, regionally, or nationally to ensure that our clients’ stories and skills are shared clearly and effectively.

In Florida in 2017, the State Surgeon General set an ambitious goal for all 67 county health departments to be offering PrEP services to patients by the end of 2018. To achieve this, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) launched an initiative to build the capacity of the local health departments to rapidly develop or scale up their PrEP programs. The DOH partnered with Facente Consulting and the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Center for Learning and Innovation to design and implement four “PrEP Institutes” throughout Florida. Facente Consulting facilitated the planning of the Institute workshops, prepared site-specific assessments and tools for each jurisdiction, and moderated the 3-day Institutes in person. Participants were immersed in learning about different organizational models for PrEP service delivery, discovering the essential elements of PrEP navigation, and developing expertise on how to support clients in their PrEP journeys—they even heard from PrEP users themselves. By the end of the Institute, participants had drafted local PrEP implementation plans and action steps for the next weeks and months following the Institute.
In January 2019, the Florida DOH announced that the goal was achieved: As of December 31, 2018, a total of 67 (100%) county health departments are providing PrEP services! This represents a major milestone for Florida’s efforts to reduce new HIV transmissions. Collectively to date, the Florida counties have served a total of 3,756 PrEP clients, reaching people across genders, ages, and racial/ethnic identities. Facente Consulting is proud to have contributed to expanding PrEP access in Florida and thanks all the partners who made these Institutes a resounding success.


In late 2010, the City and County of San Francisco released a Request for Proposals (RFP) directed toward community-based agencies, entitled “HIV Prevention Programs for Communities Highly Affected by HIV.” The San Francisco AIDS Foundation decided to apply for funding in 5 of the 8 available service categories, and hired two grantwriters to assist them in this ambitious undertaking. Facente Consulting was hired to serve as the grantwriter for three proposals (a total of 75 narrative pages written in the 2 months between issuance of the solicitation and the deadline). The categories for which Facente Consulting wrote the proposals were:
  • Community-Based HIV Testing ($1,800,000 available),
  • Special Projects to Address HIV-Related Health Disparities Among Males Who Have Sex With Males (MSM), with a Focus on Gay Males ($600,000 available), and
  • Citywide Syringe Program: Access, Disposal, and Bulk Purchasing ($1,100,000 available).

By effectively telling their stories, we help valuable programs obtain the funding they need to succeed.

Facente Consulting’s grantwriting support included facilitation of strategy meetings among agency staff who were stakeholders in the various proposals; development of detailed content outlines; writing three 25-page narratives; and editing the final proposal documents. In the end, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation was the top scorer in all 3 categories, ultimately leading to negotiation of more than $14,000,000 in funding for these services under the multi-year term of the RFP. SFAF has already retained the services of Facente Consulting for grantwriting support during the next RFP for HIV-related services in San Francisco, whenever it is released.
In addition to grantwriting support for local programs and services such as those proposed by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Facente Consulting has also provided grantwriting support for a variety of federal grants, both program and research-oriented. Some examples of this include:

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  • NIH PAR-10-040 (Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health – R21);
  • NIH PAR-11-278 (Discovery, Development, and Testing of Novel Interventions to Advance HIV Prevention and Care – R34);
  • NIH RFA-MD-13-006 (NIMHD Social, Behavioral, Health Services, and Policy Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities – R01),
  • NIH RFA-AI-13-043 (Sexually Transmitted Infections Cooperative Research Centers (CTI CRC – U19),

CDC Funding Opportunity Announcement

  • PS12-1201 (Category A: HIV Prevention Programs for Health Departments, core funding), a 50-page response which led to an award of more than $7 million of direct HIV prevention funding per year for five years from the CDC to San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

  • Cooperative Agreement for Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health (Project LAUNCH),

The California HIV/AIDS Research Program (CHRP)

  • 2013 Innovative Models for Identification, Testing, and Linkage Research Award;

Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

  • RFP HRSA-12-099, (Enhancing Engagement and Retention in Quality HIV Care for Transgender Women of Color – Demonstration Sites),

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposals (4).



  • "We have loved working with the Facente Consulting team so much that we keep finding ways to continue our engagements with them! They have been an invaluable partner in our work and truly excelled in delivering high quality research, products, and presentations to our team. We highly recommend leveraging this phenomenal team!"

    —Pedro Arista, Director at Hirsch Philanthropy Partners

  • "We sincerely appreciate your efficient, gracious customer service and the level of detail and accountability you have demonstrated during this project. We will most definitely recommend your services to other agencies and contacts. Our team could not be more satisfied with your work, and we look forward to working with you again in the future."

    —Jessica L. Fleming, MPH, Cities Readiness Initiative Program Manager, Marion County Public Health Department, Indiana

  • "I had such a good time working with Facente Consulting and am so appreciative of the theory of change and the report from our retreat. The theory of change has created such simple language for me to use when discussing the program - within 3 months I have already incorporated it into a report and a proposal."

    —Zach Ford, Senior Program Manager, AIDS United

  • "Autumn delivered exceptional work! She was extraordinarily communicative and professional."

    —Ryan Anson, NP, East Bay AIDS Center (EBAC)

  • "Cindy's project management skills were excellent and the deliverables that she provided were outstanding. She was committed and capable. We are very happy to have worked with her."

    —Naveena Bobba, Director of the Public Health Emergency Planning and Response Section of the San Francisco Department of Public Health

  • "Your revised Ending the Epidemics draft is just brilliant. You set the bar high and always exceed it."

    —Mike Shriver, Co-Chair of the San Francisco HIV Community Planning Council

  • "Shelley — You are a marvelous writer. This project makes me want to get you to evaluate everything we do!"

    —Kate Monico Klein, Director, Forensic AIDS Project / San Francisco Department of Public Health, Jail Health Services

  • "Shelley Facente is a miracle worker! She can take your ideas and turn them into winning grant proposals. I highly recommend Facente Consulting for all your research and grantwriting needs."

    —Deb Levine, Former President and Founder, YTH and ISIS Ventures Inc.

  • "It was so great to work with Shelley — her guidance, her great writing skills and willingness to work with tight timelines — all very much appreciated. I have never had the opportunity to have grant-writing assistance, but this experience makes me wonder why I haven’t!"

    —Norah Terrault, Professor of Medicine / Hepatologist, UCSF Liver Center

Photography by: Deb Westergaard Photography