From June 2010 to October 2011, the Blue Hills Community Health Alliance carried out a comprehensive Community Health Assessment in order to determine priorities for action and inform the use of CHNA 20’s funds.
purpose of the assessment
This assessment is intended to identify community health priorities for action and inform CHNA 20’s use of funds. Additionally, the assessment provides an opportunity to reach out to new partners and increase the engagement of CHNA 20’s membership. The assessment process increased connectedness and collaboration and will hopefully inspire future collaboration among agencies and institutions within the CHNA 20 catchment area. Finally, the assessment provides valuable data that can be used to guide CHNA 20’s work in the coming years, increase fundraising by member organizations, and inform local programming.
In looking at the information collected on CHNA 20’s strengths and assets, it is clear that the region has a strong base of involved residents, varied services and valuable knowledge to use as a foundation for addressing the health concerns identified through this assessment. Community assets include diversity, natural resources, local businesses, vibrant local culture, a wide array of human services and strong community collaborations.
Areas of Concern
The areas that emerged as ongoing concerns were challenges related to diversity and cultural competency, access to care and other services, chronic disease and its drivers (including disparities, economy and education), substance abuse, mental health and crime. Two types of challenges were raised most often in terms of accessing services: transportation and language barriers. Topic-specific concerns were also raised and explored. Notable areas of concern and interest among community members are quality of and access to food, domestic violence, mental health, substance abuse and crime.
Establishing Priorities for Action
The Assessment Guidance Group applied the following criteria to each health issue: 1) Relevance to all 13 communities; 2) Trend or whether the problem is increasing; 3) CHNA 20’s ability to make a measurable difference in five years; 4) Size and magnitude of the problem; and 5) Whether the issue will get worse if not addressed. The issues that ranked highest according to these criteria were identified as priorities. They are:
- Access to Care & Services (including issues that involve transportation, linguistic services and navigating through systems for treatment)
- Chronic Disease & Wellness
- Mental Health
- Substance Abuse