For the first time, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop are combining forces to conduct a comprehensive regional Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and design a Community Health Implementation Plan (CHIP).
“Major hospitals, along with health centers, human services providers and non-profits that serve area residents, are working with municipal leaders, health departments and the boards of health of each community to develop the plan,” said Winthrop Public Health Nurse Meredith Hurley, during Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting. “Residents of the three communities are being urged to go online and fill out a survey that asks about local health issues and other aspects of community life.”
According to Town Manager Faison, “This is an important process for Winthrop, I frequently stress the need for data and analysis at the municipal level so that we can improve services we provide to residents. It is exciting to partner with our neighbors because public health issues can impact our communities in different ways.”
The effort is being co-coordinated by the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative and the Mass General Hospital Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) with the ultimate goal of identifying, prioritizing and addressing the most urgent health needs faced by each community and the region, these assessments are often used to apply for targeting funding to help address community needs.
Every three years, most hospitals conduct a community health needs assessment to meet requirements set by the Affordable Care Act. The Massachusetts Attorney General also requires such a report and is encouraging regional assessments of its type in Massachusetts,” said Jeff Stone, director of the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative. “Mayor Arrigo, Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Winthrop Town Manager Austin Faison realize that public health conditions don’t respect borders, and, working together we can solve some or out health challenges more effectively.”
The collaborators have set and ambitious timeline. The CHNA and CHIP will be completed by September 30, and will result in a guide for three-year community health improvement plan that all providers can use. The process includes intensive data collection—hundreds of residents surveys, interviews and focus groups as well as collecting data from other agencies such as the MA Department of Public Health and the US Census.
A website had been created, www.northsuffolkassessment.org to provide information to anyone who may be interested. People who live or work in Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are encouraged to complete a survey. It is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic, reflecting the languages most frequently spoken in the communities.