Thursday, October 5, 2017

Improving Community’s Health Is Partnership’s Plan

Diabetes, smoking and hypertension – those are the three most serious health issues in Sequoyah County, a group dedicated to improving the health of the public decided at a meeting Tuesday.

Louise Musselman of the Oklahoma Department of Health led the County Health Improvement Organization (CHIO) meeting held at the health department in Sallisaw.

Musselman explained CHIO members, who represent city government and many agencies in the county, prioritized health issues in Sequoyah County. 

“This process is necessary to help us select the issues that we will include in our county’s health improvement plan,” she said.

The health issues of greatest concern in the county were determined to be diabetes, tobacco use, hypertension, heart disease, adult drug use, teen births, physical activity, obesity and mental health, in that order and based on information supplied by various state and national studies and statistics.

This prioritizing of health issues took place to improve community health through a planning process called MAPP, or Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships. MAPP is a community-driven strategic planning process for improving community health. The MAPP plan helps communities apply strategic thinking to prioritize public health issues and identify resources to address them. MAPP is an interactive process that can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately the performance of local public health systems.

Musselman said, “This is meant to seek partnership with community leaders and members. The process calls for six phases.”

The phases are:

*Organizing by building a broad partnership to participate in the process. The partnership is called CHIO in Sequoyah County.
*Visioning to create a common understanding of what is to be accomplished.
* Making four assessments, that are Community Themes and Strengths, Local Public Health System, Forces of Change, and Community Health Status.
*  Identifying strategic issues, that is prioritizing the health issues.
*  Formulating Goals and Strategies by creating a County Health Improvement Plan.
*  Action Cycle, which is to implement the plan, evaluated and modified as needed based on the evaluation

Musselman said, “Our plan is to be strategic, with the focus on the community and relying on partnerships.”

She added she believed the plan would be completed in about six months.

Participating are the state and county health departments, the City of Sallisaw, KiBOIS Community Action, OSU Extension, Sallisaw NOW Coalition, OU Health Sciences, The Mix 105.1, the Pastors Fellowship, the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority, Sallisaw Health and Wellness, the Cherokee Nation, CREOKS, Peters Agency, People Inc., Northeastern Health System Sequoyah, Carl Albert State College and private citizens.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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