Matthew in the Middle

The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health, released the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) 2022-2027: humboldtgov.org/PHdata in February.

While the creation of a collaborative CHIP was initiated and guided by Public Health, this document is the product of the collaborative efforts of Live Well Humboldt. Live Well Humboldt is a community-wide initiative guided by the partnership, expertise, and passion of individuals and organizations from multiple sectors across our county who work to increase equitable opportunities for health and well-being. -being in our community.

This plan was informed by the most recent Community Health Assessment (CHA) and builds on the partnerships and progress made since the 2014 CHIP. Priorities were selected based on data from the ACS, several community engagement activities and contributions from the various organizations involved in Live Well Humboldt and CHIP. It is important to recognize that the work of partners across many sectors is needed to have an impact on the complex issues that shape health and well-being in our community.

The priorities of the CHIP 2022-2027 are:

  • Behavioral health (suicide and substance use)
  • Housing instability and homelessness
  • Healthy Beginnings and Negative Childhood Experiences (ACE)

The choice of these priority areas is confirmed by the multiple organizations and collaborations that are already working to improve results in these areas. We hope the CHIP process will help coordinate activities taking place in each priority area and identify shared measurable health outcomes that community partners will use to track progress toward equity and improved health for all in Humboldt County. CHIP also highlights the connections between these priority areas and strengthens collaboration across sectors to address upstream inequities that impact multiple downstream health outcomes.

As a community, we recognize that the conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, play and age have a direct impact on their health and well-being, and that no single organization or sector can improve community health. This CHIP provides the framework for continued community action through partnerships to improve the health of all Humboldt County residents, especially those most impacted by inequities.

The work we have done together over the past two years, despite the pandemic, gives us a strong starting point for CHIP 2022-2027 and is a testament to the commitment and resilience that exists throughout Humboldt County. Despite the barriers of working on virtual platforms, more than 28 organizations participated in Live Well Humboldt meetings to brainstorm data, goals and strategies to impact the three priority areas. This is remarkable, especially considering that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing for many community partners.

The pandemic also underscores public health’s commitment to health and racial equity. We strive to fight, alongside our community partners, against discriminatory policies and practices that result in significant and unfair health outcomes for certain communities. We are committed to this effort, improving how we provide grassroots support, ensure transparency and share power.

We deeply appreciate the efforts of Live Well Humboldt partners and many other community members who have supported CHIP’s work thus far. It is an honor to partner with so many passionate and creative organizations and individuals. We look forward to continued collaboration in the future. Thank you for your commitment to the health of our community — these partnerships make change possible.

Sofia Pereira is the director of public health for Humboldt County.

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