This year we observed Community Health Improvement Week from June 7-12. Community Health Improvement Week is a national event to recognize community health professionals for their passion and dedication to improving the health of the communities they serve. Community Health Improvement week raises awareness, demonstrates impact, and celebrates the individuals and organizations that work to advance the health and well-being of their communities. They may focus on at-risk populations or make directed efforts to improve specific health concerns in a community.
Some of those focused areas may include, but are not limited to:
· early maternity care
· diabetes screening and care
· infant screenings
· mental health screenings
· elder care
· health awareness programs
The Meigs County Health Department convened and has been working in conjunction with a group of individuals and organizations interested in the health and well-being of Meigs County residents for more than six years to address the health of our communities. This group, called Get Healthy Meigs!, completed the second Meigs County Community Health Assessment in 2020 that identified key health needs and issues through systematic and comprehensive data collection and analysis.
The information from the Community Health Assessment now is being used to create the second Meigs County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), which will focus on Access to Care, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Goals will be created for each of these areas of concern and Get Healthy Meigs! members will work together to address the issues over the next three years.
The first Meigs County CHIP was completed in 2017 and had five priority areas, which are as follows:
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health subcommittee was able to complete most of their goals which included increasing integrated treatment so residents can receive treatment in a preferred location, increasing Medication Assisted Treatment and assessment by helping to create a drug treatment court, increasing awareness of behavioral health services by hosting Prevention Day activities at the Meigs County Fair, and reducing the stigma associated with treatment of behavioral health issues by providing resource materials to first responders.
The Maternal and Child Health Subcommittee partnered with Meigs County WIC to decrease maternal smoking using a display box to show “what goes in your body goes in your baby too” and also partnering with the Meigs County Health Department’s Tobacco Cessation Specialist to provide counseling.
The Workforce Development Subcommittee worked to increase the number of individuals enrolled in vocational and short-term training by holding Career Fairs at Southern and Meigs High Schools. The Workforce Development Subcommittee also tried to increase access to public health educational training by meeting with representatives of the University of Rio Grande to discuss potential program opportunities.
The Healthy Behaviors Subcommittee created the Meigs County Active Transportation Plan with the hopes of increasing availability to safe walking/biking paths, and also took inventory of all of the areas in Meigs County that can be used for physical activity. Finally, the Healthy Behaviors Subcommittee purchased a refrigerator for the Mulberry Center Cooperative Parish food pantry that can be used to store fresh produce.
Get Healthy Meigs! will meet on July 15th at 10:30 a.m. New members are welcome. Contact the Meigs County Health Department at (740)992-6626 for more information.
Michelle Willard is the Meigs County Health Department Accreditation Coordinator.