Sustainability is ensuring that evidence-based programs (EBPs) are readily available and easily accessible over time. ​The goal of sustainability is to integrate and embed EBPs within organizations so that they become a routine and integral component of your organizational operations. ​Sustainability planning should be included from the start of planning and implementing a program to maintain. ​

Sustaining a program is complicated and growing a health promotion program takes time and effort. There are certain areas of sustainability that your organization may already excel at and other areas where more planning and resources are needed. That is why it can be helpful to take time to fully evaluate your sustainability capabilities.

What is the Program Sustainability Assessment Tool (PSAT)?

One free, publicly available tool to help your organization have a better understanding of your sustainability capacity is the Program Sustainability Assessment Tool (PSAT). The PSAT was developed by the Center for Public Health Systems Science at Washington University in St. Louis, and it was originally designed to assess public health programs, but it is relevant for any social service or clinical care program.

This tool has been used by over 9,000 individuals from over 4,000 unique programs. Programs that have used this tool operate at local, state, national and even international levels. Programs address a range of topics such as tobacco control, obesity prevention, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME) and Falls Prevention programs are also a good fit for the tool.

A strength of the PSAT is that it is straightforward and consists of 40 Likert scale questions across eight domains. The assessment is estimated to take between 10 to 15 minutes to complete. The assessment can be taken by a group of individuals in an organization or as a group. The eight domains include:

  1. Environmental support
  2. Funding stability
  3. Partnerships
  4. Organizational capacity
  5. Program evaluation
  6. Program adaptation
  7. Communications
  8. Strategic planning

After you complete the assessment, you can use these resources to grow your sustainability knowledge and skills:

A way to measure business acumen and sustainability

Another sustainability assessment tool was developed by NCOA and Collaborative Consulting, specifically for evidence-based program providers. Compared to the PSAT, it inquiries about the organizations involved in community care hubs (CCH), and this assessment goes more in-depth on seven domain areas:

  1. Leadership
  2. Strategic planning & implementation
  3. Administration
  4. Market intelligence
  5. Program management
  6. Partnership development
  7. Finance

If you are interested in learning more about this assessment, please contact the Center for Healthy Aging team at

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90CSSG0048 and 90FPSG0051 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.