Example 1: Health District of Northern Larimer County – Fort Collins, Colorado
Every three years since 1995, the Health District of Northern Larimer County has worked with local partners to conduct a robust community health assessment to identify the area’s highest priority health needs. However, the Health District is a geographical subdivision of the state of Colorado that only covers the northern two-thirds of Larimer County. Through changing the jurisdiction of their assessment, the Health District has been able to also meet the needs of the broader county. Dr. Bruce Cooper, the Health District’s Medical Director, noted that collaboration with several different partners, such as Larimer County Health and Human Services, United Way, the Larimer County Hospital, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) enabled the assessment to be administered at the full county level.
The Health District uses multiple assessment methods, including focus groups, interviews, and surveys. In the past, survey administration was designed to reach a representative sample of the Health District’s adults. By obtaining supplemental resources from partners, Larimer Health District was able to administer additional surveys in order to also provide a representative sample for the southern part of the county.
For the most recent health assessment conducted in 2010, Larimer County also worked closely in a unique partnership with the Vector-Borne Disease division of the CDC. Sue Hewitt, Health District of Northern Larimer County Coordinator of Research and Evaluation, notes that this collaboration was cost-effective for both organizations. A couple of CDC questions regarding West Nile virus were incorporated into the Larimer County health assessment survey, and combining the resources allowed the surveys to be disseminated to a wider geographical area than either would have been able to reach separately.
Dr. Cooper noted that this year, the health district has been working closely with the hospital in planning the next survey, and given the hospital’s broader geographical boundaries, there is the possibility of combining the Larimer County survey with a similar survey from an adjoining county to establish an even broader geographic representation for the next assessment, due to take place in 2013.
Example 2: All Together for Health
“On a map, 24 contiguous municipalities just northwest of St. Louis resemble nothing more than a crazy quilt. And for decades, their governance and services were a patchwork, too. Each municipality—from the tiny, two-street Village of Glen Echo Park, population 160, to the neighborhood-sized City of Normandy, population 5,008—has its own government. That’s two dozen mayors and city councils and almost as many police departments in an area that spans almost 11 square miles, is home to 36,250 people, and is served by one school district.
More than half a decade ago, city leaders rose above their individual municipal identities and city charters, embracing an “all-for-one” approach. Calling themselves “24:1,” they first came together in the midst of the nationwide mortgage foreclosure crisis that threatened the health of individuals, families, neighborhoods, and entire communities. Today, the 24:1 municipalities strive to realize a unified vision: strong communities, engaged families, and successful children.” Read more about how these contiguous municipalities have spanned jurisdictions to determine community needs and take action.