Ohio law states that all local health departments must gain national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) by July 2020. The Meigs County Health Department (MCHD) has been working for more than two years to fulfill this requirement. The process to gain accreditation includes gathering hundreds of documents and creating and/or updating a series of plans that include a Branding Policy, Workforce Development Plan, Emergency Operations Plan, Performance Management Plan, Strategic Plan, Community Health Assessment, and a Community Health Improvement Plan.
After many months of planning and meetings with community partners and the University of Rio Grande, the MCHD and Get Healthy Meigs! (GHM) Committee will soon release a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The CHIP provides a baseline for future health priorities, identifies how to strategically and collaboratively address community health priorities, creates a living record of the community’s health goals and strategies, and provides a tool to enable community members to reach their full health potential through assessment, leadership, and partnerships.
In order to fulfill some of the requirements of accreditation, the MCHD invited a long list of people from a wide range of community businesses and organizations to be a part of the steering committee that would eventually become known as GHM!. The GHM! Committee, with assistance from Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, gathered community data through the use of assessments, focus groups, and surveys which was then used to create the Community Health Assessment (CHA). Get Healthy Meigs! used the data from the CHA to identify a list of priority areas that the members can work on to make improvements for the overall health of the community. Each of the priority areas has no fewer than five goals. The priority areas are as follows:
- Substance Abuse — Reduce rates of drug and alcohol use in the community. Reduce rates of depression, suicide, and drug overdose deaths.
- Maternal and Child Health — Reduce teen pregnancy, unintended pregnancy, childhood obesity, prematurity, infant mortality, maternal smoking, poor nutrition, drug use/addiction, increase prenatal care and breastfeeding.
- Workforce Development — Improve the county’s social determinants of health and health inequities including unemployment, education levels, poverty, poor housing, uninsured/cost of healthcare.
- Chronic Illness — Reduce high morbidity rates, chronic disease, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, obesity, strike, increase prevention and treatment of chronic disease.
- Healthy Behaviors — Reduce high tobacco use, high obesity, inadequate nutrition, increase physical activity, preventative care.
The MCHD thanks community partners for their participation, and the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College for technical assistance in writing the CHIP.
A final copy of the CHIP will be located on the MCHD’s website www.meigs-health.com. The Community Health Assessment is already posted on the website.
For questions or to volunteer assistance with the priority areas, please call the Michelle Willard at (740)992-6626.
Michelle Willard is an administrative assistant/accreditation coordinator with the Meigs County Health Department