Mesa County Health Department started the CHNA process in 2011 by creating a Community Health Steering Committee to lead a strategic process and suggest health priority areas for Mesa County. Following principles from the Colorado Health Assessment and Planning System (CHAPS) and the Precede/Proceed Model (Green and Kreuter, 2005), the committee decided on four crucial steps to assess needs, determine causes, and reach consensus on possible interventions to achieve desired outcomes. Those steps are:
- compile existing data,
- engage stakeholders and prioritize health problems,
- gather primary data from community input,
- and determine health priorities.
Step 1: Compile Existing Data
In February 2011, Mesa County Health Department reviewed a list of 250 indicators developed by the Public Health Indicator Task Force as a starting point for gathering local data. Mesa County Health Department staff researched all available data for Mesa County related to each of the 250 indicators and identified whether a state standard or a Healthy People 2020 objective was available for comparison.
Step 2: Engage Stakeholders and Prioritize Health Problems
Mesa County Health Department established the Mesa County Community Health Steering Committee, comprised of selected community representatives, to provide guidance for the health assessment process. Members of the steering committee were chosen based on their abilities to provide subject matter expertise, provide input, see the big picture of community health, and review the health-indicator data. Committee members were asked to commit to a kickoff meeting, potentially participate in priority area focus groups, and provide a review of the final CHNA report.
The following key community organizations participated, representing diversity within the public health system: City of Grand Junction, Colorado West Regional Mental Health, Community Hospital, City of Grand Junction, Colorado West Regional Mental Health, Community Hospital, Family Health West, Hilltop, Marillac Clinic, Mesa County 211, Mesa County Department of Human Services, Mesa County Health Department, Mesa County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), Mesa County School District #51, St. Mary’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center, and Stride.
Step 3: Gathering Primary Data
The Steering Committee gathered primary data to further explore information for Mesa County. This was completed by holding focus groups and by identifying and reviewing data available in a variety of community programs.
Step 4: Determine Health Priorities
Once the subject matter expert and community focus groups were complete, Mesa County Health Department and community partners identi?ed key public health priorities that would have a large-scale impact on health and quality of life. These areas became Mesa County’s Winnable Battles to be addressed over the next several years.
As a means to triangulate information gathered in the focus groups, large community summits were held to discuss issues related to Mesa County’s Winnable Battles. The summits encouraged community partners, stakeholders, and members of the public to offer ideas and potential solutions to barriers. St. Mary’s continuously assess the needs of the community through close working relationships and partnerships with service agencies in the community, and by evaluating state and county health statistics.