Community health survey process underway

Every three years, the county develops a Community Health Needs survey and sends it throughout the county.

The process is starting again this week with a “Healthy Lives, Vibrant Futures” Community Health Symposium at 3 p.m. Jan. 17 in Heritage Hall at Great Falls College-MSU.

Feedback and discussion from the even will be used by the newly formed coalition in developing a Community Health Improvement Plan, or CHIP, for the next two years.

The event flyer is here.

The CHIP coalition addresses top health concerns for Cascade County.

According to the City-County Health Department, the survey consists of 31 questions focusing on health concerns for the Cascade County regional area.

Once the survey is complete, the CHIP coalition compiles a community health assessment to explain the collected data and address top priority areas. Click here to view the 2016 Community Health Assessment or the 2016 CHIP Update.

In 2012, the top health concerns were alcohol abuse, child abuse and/or neglect and overweight and obesity. In 2015, illegal drug use emerged as the top health concern, along with child abuse and/or neglect, and alcohol abuse. Residents also indicated depression and anxiety to be a more serious health concern than previously, according to CCHD.

The CHIP coalition will work to create objectives for each identified issue. Steering committee members help ensure that their agencies are implementing the strategies the plan outlines. Many local agencies are already actively working towards improving the issues listed in the CHIP, and the steering committees give organizations an opportunity to share their progress, pool resources, and determine what further action can be taken to improve the health of our community, according to CCHD.

The 2016 Community Health Improvement Planning Coalition consisted of representatives from United Way of Cascade County, Get Fit Great Falls, Cascade City-County Health Department, Alliance for Youth, and Benefis Health System.

Learn more about these issues and the objectives and strategies pursued by community agencies by reviewing the 2017-2019 Community Health Improvement Plan.

A similar community health improvement process took place in 2011 and resulted in the 2011 Community Health Assessment and 2011 Community Health Improvement Plan.