A community health improvement plan (CHIP) is a long-term, systematic effort to address public health concerns in a community. It is based on the results of community health needs assessment (CHNA) and is one step in a process to improve community health.
Local organizations have come together to look at the CHNA results for the community. In March 2022, the group started planning how to address the health needs in our communities and build from our strengths. Lead agencies involved in planning, implementing, and monitoring this plan are Crossing Rivers Health, Crawford County Health & Human Services, Aging & Disability Resource Center and UW-Extension. The plan includes lofty, yet realistic goals to strive for in the next three years and will take many partnering organizations, community members and businesses to show progress toward a healthier community.
The four primary strategies identified in the CHIP include: Mental health, empowering people through education, connecting people to services and resources and creating healthy environments.
Mental Health: A high rate of poor mental health days and deaths by suicide in Crawford County is evidence that more work must be done in our county. Strengthening our mental health coalition, offering community education to break down stigma, building environments that are supportive and connecting people to resources and services when they need them are the initiatives identified to help make a difference.
Empowering People through Awareness & Education: Providing awareness and knowledge through events and campaigns to prevent poor health outcomes. These opportunities encourage the community to participate in screenings, choose healthy behaviors and implement strategies that can improve their health.
Connecting People to Services & Resources: A challenge to getting the right services and resources is often finding them. Organizations will work together to integrate services connecting people to resources they need and promote these services to the public.
Creating Healthy Environments: The places we live, work, play, and learn have an important role in our health. Policies, systems, and environments impact health behaviors and lead to community culture. Enhancing and creating local environments that promote healthy behaviors specifically for healthy eating, physical activity, and substance use.
“This plan is only the beginning of a lot of great collaboration,” said Sonya Lenzendorf, Crawford County Public Health Officer. “We encourage individuals, businesses, and organizations to review the findings of the needs assessment, available on our websites, and join the efforts and expand on what we have started,” Lenzendorf added.