Milton's Community Health Assessment (CHA)
- Caroline A. Kinsella, BSN, RN, RS
Milton Health Department Launches First Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan
The Board of Health (BOH) and Milton Health Department are pleased to announce that we have received funding, through the American Rescue Plan Act Funding (ARPA), to conduct a Community Health Assessment (CHA) and formulate a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), thanks to the efforts of Senator Walter Timilty. The Milton Health Department has never before conducted a formal Town-wide assessment to ascertain what types of health challenges, service gaps and health disparities exist, and this new funding will allow us to do so. Information will be collected through stakeholder interviews, focus groups, surveys, and by collecting statistical data from existing reports that will help us understand and address our greatest health needs, and identify who may be at greatest risk. After epidemiologists analyze the findings, they will be used to inform the development of a CHIP, or a strategic action plan, that will focus on addressing preventable illnesses and injuries, as well as the mental and behavioral health needs of residents. This process is a best practice for local health departments to engage in. Laura Richards, Milton Board of Health Chair said, "This funding will afford the Health Department the process and data we need to hopefully bring new policies, procedures, and resources that will promote a Healthier Milton! We hope that our town agencies, partners and residents will help to make this a successful effort."
The BOH unanimously voted to approve Milton resident Laurie Stillman as Project Manager to oversee the design and implementation of this project and guide the team over the next 9 to 12 months. Ms. Stillman has over 35 years of post-graduate experience managing public health organizations and community health improvement programs across New England. She is thoroughly familiar with the many health data sources that exist within the Town and has fostered excellent trusting relationships with community leaders and institutions across sectors. In addition to Ms. Stillman, our assessment team will consist of Health Director Caroline Kinsella, Assistant Health Director Laura DelleChiaie, and two regional epidemiologists. Our efforts will be coordinated with The Milton Coalition, a program of the Health Department.
The Milton Health Department is committed to ensuring that the assessment and strategic plan development will be a transparent community based participatory process. We are excited that the "Partnership for a Healthy Milton" (PHM), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting a healthier Milton, will serve as the core Community Advisory Group (CAG), leading the charge to reach out to local community and grass roots organizations, leaders and residents to assist us with a comprehensive, thoughtful, and respectful plan of action. The CAG provides insight, knowledge, and perspectives on how we can make Milton a healthier town to live in and identify the gaps that need to be addressed.