PATH Fidelity Resources

This page is a resource for PATH leaders, master trainers and anyone else involved in program delivery.

If you have any questions about fidelity, please start here:

Leader Status and Master Trainer Certification

All Leaders and Master Trainers must meet certain guidelines to remain active and certified.

Fidelity Checks

These tools will guide you through conducting fidelity checks.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fidelity

What is Program Fidelity?

At the organizational/agency level, program fidelity refers to how closely staff and others (i.e. peer leaders, trainers, and evaluators) follow the program that the developers provide. This means that the program must be delivered as intended by following the program manual and guidelines created by SMRC.

The PATH Programs (Chronic Disease, Diabetes, Chronic Pain, etc) are all evidence-based programs that clearly define core program elements and methods that, when followed closely, help to assure the quality of the program and enhance program outcomes for both individuals and organizations.

What happens if you don’t have fidelity?

Program delivery that is not true to the original design decreases the likelihood that you will get the desired outcomes. Poor fidelity can result in a range of unintended effects, not only for participants, but also for Leaders, Trainers and your organization. These effects include:
  • Harm to participants
  • Lower completion rates
  • Increased costs
  • Harm to organization reputation
  • Harm to the reputation of PATH programs
  • Unhappy Leaders and staff
  • Attrition of Leaders and staff
  • Wasted investment of time and resources
For all these reasons, fidelity monitoring should be part of your overall quality assurance plan.

How will leaders be supported in maintaining fidelity?

To maintain the excellence of the PATH programs provided in Michigan and support leaders in improving their skills, the following practices have been put into place:
  • Every effort is made to pair new leaders with experienced leaders. This will help leaders continue their learning process beyond the 4-day PATH leader training.
  • A PATH coordinator may call leaders after the first session to discuss any problems with the site or the other leaders.
  • Experienced leaders are encouraged to provide constructive feedback to a new co-leader at the end of each session after the participants have left. (How do I give constructive feedback, p.12)
  • All leaders (new or experienced) should help one another during the workshop if one observes an omission or an error.
  • Leaders should report any concerns they may have about a leader to the PATH coordinator, if a problem does not resolve after feedback has been given.
  • A Master Trainer or experienced leader may come to observe the workshop leaders during one of the 6 sessions and provide feedback back using a fidelity checklist. The goal is to help you advance your ability as a program leader, not to "catch you" doing something wrong.
  • All leaders can use the Leader Feedback Form as a way to check in with each other after the first session of working together. During your workshop planning, schedule a time to review these forms with each other.

What is included in a fidelity check?

✓ Are the leaders prepared to start on time by having all the materials needed for that session, set-up and ready to go?

Action Plan: Feedback and Problem Solving

  • Did the leader report their action plan in a brief way?
  • Did the leaders praise participants for achieving their action plan or for modifying their action plan?
  • If they did not complete their action plan, did the leader problem solve with the participant?

✓ Does the leader accurately deliver the information in the paraphrase section of different activities in an easy and clear way?

✓ Does the leader accurately deliver instructions for group activities according to the leaders’ manual guidelines?

✓ Are the leaders modeling each activity accurately?


  • How well did the leaders follow the brainstorming guidelines? (i.e. written in participants words, leaders did not comment about participants ideas, leaders keep the group focused on the topic).

Further questions?

Contact your program coordinator about PATH Fidelity or any other questions you have about leading PATH workshops. Or if you’re unsure who to contact view a graphic of the PATH regional and statewide contacts, or reach out to Jodi Burke at