Healthcare group picks problems to focus on solving

Obesity; distracted and drunken driving; youth drinking and smoking; and suicide and lack of mental health awareness — these are the community health priorities set by people and health care stakeholders in a meeting Thursday.

The gathering of 30 people was a culmination of sorts of a multi-agency process aimed at the creation of a community health assessment (CHA) and community health improvement plan (CHIP).

The 47-page CHA data book, located at http://www.centralvalley health.org/databook.php, brings together information on many health-related topics from many sources, putting numbers into charts and graphics but also providing some analysis of what the statistics mean.

On Thursday, community members and representatives of community health organizations sorted through a list of 11 community issues, ranking them by importance, number of people affected and by how doable working on them would be.

From there, some of the issues were combined — youth and adult obesity and lack of physical activity were combined into a single priority, for example. Drunken driving and distracted driving were combined, too, as were youth alcohol and smoking. Mental health awareness and suicide were paired together.

The next step in the process will be formulating goals and measurable objectives for those priority areas. Then strategies, tactics and performances measures can be determined as part of the CHIP.

Most likely, the next meeting will focus on the core team of people involved in health organizations rather than the public, but the public will still be welcome to attend, Dillman emphasized.

That meeting will likely be set for two weeks in the future, she added. Anyone interested in attending can call CVHD at 252-8130 to be put on the notification list.

Eventually, a Health Partnership Committee will be created to help groups working on the same priorities link up with each other, and a list of community health assets will be developed.

“We’re trying to be proactive instead of reactive,” said Robin Iszler, unit administrator with Central Valley Health District, adding that having a plan in place would allow community health organizations to react more effectively as well.

Led by Central Valley Health District, Jamestown Regional Medical Center and Wishek Community Hospital & Clinics, the project has brought together collaborators from many health-focused community groups, such as the Healthy Lifestyle Coalition and the nursing department at Jamestown College, along with interested community members.

“Aligning our community health priorities and working on them in a collective way will allow us to create a greater impact,” said Todd Hudspeth, CEO of JRMC. “Moving forward with a shared focus will prevent duplicated efforts and help us effectively accomplish results.”

Originally posted in the Jamestown Sun
Kari Lucin, Sun Reporter
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at klucin@jamestownsun.co

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