A community health improvement plan (CHIP) is a community-driven, long-term, systematic plan to address issues identified in a community health assessment (CHA). The purpose of the CHIP is to describe how hospitals, health departments, and other community stakeholders will work to improve the health of the county. A CHIP is designed to set priorities, direct the use of resources, and develop and implement projects, programs, and policies. The CHIP is more comprehensive than the roles and responsibilities of health organizations alone, and the plan’s development must include participation of a broad set of community stakeholders and partners. This CHIP reflects the results of a collaborative planning process that includes significant involvement by a variety of community sectors.
The Mahoning County CHA/CHIP Team has been conducting CHA's since 2011 to measure community health status. The most recent Mahoning County CHA was cross-sectional in nature and included a written survey of adults and adolescents within Mahoning County. The questions were modeled after the survey instruments used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their national and state Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). This allowed Mahoning County to compare their CHA data to national, state and local health trends. Community stakeholders were actively engaged in the early phases of CHA planning and helped define the content, scope, and sequence of the project.
A committee made up of Mahoning and Trumbull County Health partners contracted with the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio (HCNO), a neutral, regional, nonprofit hospital association, to facilitate the CHA and CHIP in both counties. The Mahoning County CHA/CHIP Team then invited cross-sector community stakeholders to participate in the community health improvement planning process. Data from the most recent CHA were carefully considered and categorized into community priorities with accompanying strategies. This was done using the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ (NACCHO) national framework, Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP). The following priorities were selected in Mahoning County:
- Improving mental health status and reducing substance abuse and addiction
- Reducing chronic disease
- Improving maternal and infant health
- Improving the economic and social issues impeding health (the social determinants of health)
- Improving health equity
Over the next three years, to address these priorities, strategies and action steps will be implemented at the county-level with the intent to improve population health and well-being and create lasting, sustainable change. It is the hope of the Mahoning County CHA/CHIP Team that every organization in the county will tie their internal strategic plan to at least one strategy in the CHIP.