“Becoming the Healthiest Nation” was this year’s theme for National Public Health Week which began on April 3rd. This marked the completion of the Forest, Oneida and Vilas counties Health Improvement Plan!
The multi-county plan is a collaboration among health departments, community members, health care partners, local elected officials, tribal health partners, and other government agencies. Health departments and hospital systems both have requirements to complete local health assessments and because there are many agencies, including health care systems that serve all three counties it made sense to collaborate on one health improvement plan. During the recently completed Community Health Assessment, the top three priority health issues were identified as Chronic Disease, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, and Mental Health. The Community Health Improvement Plan includes goals, objectives and target outcomes, along with suggested strategies to improve those health issues.
The intent of the plan is to provide an outline for our many coalitions that are already working to improve the health of our residents and also foster new partnerships and encourage others to work together. Health is not something we get at a doctor’s office; it starts in our homes, schools and work places, and playgrounds and parks. The strategies in the plan include suggested programs that have been shown to be effective but it also stresses that we need to improve our physical and social environment and implement policies to make healthy behaviors the easy choice.
The plan is closely linked to Wisconsin’s Health Plan: Healthiest Wisconsin 2020, Everyone Living Better Longer. There are several overarching priority areas within the plan; health across the lifespan, health equity, and access to health care. By assessing health at all stages of life, providing equal opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status, and addressing barriers to everyone receiving quality care, we will contribute to a better quality of life for all of our residents.
The next steps are to share this plan with the community and work with existing coalitions to implement the strategies and measure success toward the goals. A copy of the Community Health Improvement Plan can be found on each county’s website. It is our hope that community members will read through the plan and find some way to incorporate these strategies into your work, home and your lifestyle. If you are interested in participating in a workgroup or any activities related to the improving the health of all residents, please call your local health department for more information.
Click here to view the plan: 2017 Community Health Improvement Plan , or view it under the Community Health Plan menu tab.
Vilas County Health Department