MCPH outlines health improvement goals

By Sam Wildow -

MIAMI COUNTY – Last year, Miami County Public Health (MCPH) released the 2017 Miami County Community Health Assessment, making the 240-page document available to the public for an in-depth look at the health statistics for Miami County residents.

This year, MCPH followed up the health assessment by releasing the 2018-2020 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), with goals and suggestions to improve the health of county residents based on the findings of the assessment.

“It really was a community effort,” said Miami County Public Health Epidemiologist Janel Hodges, who explained that more than 30 agencies were involved in preparing the CHIP.

The CHIP will continue to bring those community partners together as it guides them on ways to improve health outcomes by addressing the priorities of the plan.

After the community partners in the steering committee of the CHIP were presented with the community health assessment data, Hodges said they selected three priority areas for Miami County: chronic disease, maternal and family health, and mental health and addiction. With the plan comes a dashboard of initiatives in each of those key areas that MCPH will be updating every six months to show their progress.

“We have a task force … brought together from different agencies,” Hodges said.

Under their first priority, chronic disease, the goal is to promote wellness resources in Miami County. One strategy is to promote “opportunities for physical activity in Miami County” with the objective of, by 2019, to “create an events calendar for Miami County and develop a social media networking group across the county.”

Another strategy under that priority is to develop and implement “a wellness program to highlight opportunities to incorporate physical activity into daily activities.” The objective by 2019 is to “provide physical activity education and develop a Walking Campaign to promote healthy lifestyles.”

Under the maternal and family health priority, the plan has the goal of improving coordination of county resources to respond to families in crisis more effectively. One strategy includes establishing a 2-1-1 system, which Hodges said would “be able to connect any residents to any resources for health or human service resources.”

Another example of one of their goals, under the mental health and addiction priority, is to lessen social isolation and promote community connectivity. To tackle social isolation, the plan has an objective to implement a “Hello, how are you?” campaign as well as to launch “Buddy Benches,” which, according to the plan, are “designed for people who are feeling lonely to sit on them.” The plan goes on to state, “If someone notices a person on a Buddy Bench, they are encouraged to sit down and start a conversation.”

MCPH received assistance from Wright State University on both the health assessment and improvement plan.

Hodges thanked all of the agencies and organizations involved in the CHIP, saying that the health assessment and subsequent health improvement plan helped create connections and improved coordination between Miami County agencies.

For more information or to view the health assessment or the CHIP, visit

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at

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