September 15, 2011 Marshall County initiated a community health planning effort to improve the health of the people in Marshall County. The Healthy Communities Project is being guided by a local Steering Committee comprised of representatives from the Board of Health, the Health Department, the Sheriff's office, local physician's office, behavior health agency, agriculture community and educational institutions.
Health Systems Research - University of Illinois at Rockford has been contracted to provide 4 assessments and a presentation of the analysis for the project.
The first assessment is a community overview including data about demographic, health, social and economic characteristics of Marshall County.
The second is a household survey that went to 1,100 households in Marshall County the first week of November. 22% return ratio on the surveys.
The third assessments are focus groups which will be small groups of target populations to help identify needs and problems in obtaining health and human services. The focus groups was completed by the middle of March.
The fourth assessment is key informant interviews which began in March. The key informant interviews target people who work/live in and understand health and human services in Marshall County. University of Illinois Staff met with 12-15 key informants.
On May 1, 2012 Deb Lischwe from Health Systems Research, University of Illinois - Rockford presented the findings from the Marshall County Community Overview (analysis of data about the demographic, health, social and economical characteristics of Marshall County), household survey study, and a brief overview of the key informant and focus group interviews. (All findings from Health Systems Research are available below)
On June 26, 2012 the Steering Committee met to review all of the data collected from the 4 assessments Health Systems Research gathered. The Committee used the Hanlon Grid as a tool to prioritize the community issues that emerged from the assessments. The top three community health priorities for Marshall County are: behavioral health - substance abuse; obesity across the lifespan; and access to dental services. The Steering Committee met with the Marshall County Board of Health on August 22, 2012 to discuss the three priorities and begin the process of developing a community health improvement plan for Marshall County. Critcal to the success of the plan is community involvement to assure better coordination of services and resources and to produce a collaborative atmosphere among key stakeholders.
The Steering Committee held a Town Hall Meeting on October 10, 2012 at the Marshall-Putnam Farm Bureau (509 Front Street, Henry IL) from 6:00 - 7:30 for discussion about the Community Plan. The planning committee is focused on creating a Marshall County Community Health Improvement Plan centered on the top 3 community health priorities in Marshall County. Community members, business leaders, service providers and other key stakeholders were encouraged to attend and get involved in this collaboration.
For any information on the Project please call, 309-246-8074.
Over the next 10 months the Steering Committee continued to work on building strategies and plans around the top three health priorities in Marshall County. The goal was to produce a comprehensive community driven health improvement plan. On August 28, 2013 the Marshall County Board of Health approved the Marshall County Community Health Improvement Plan. During the next several years community stakeholders will need to coordinate their efforts in implementing the strategies recommended by the Committee to address: Oral Health, Substance Abuse, and Obesity.