Community Health Assessments
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Community Health Assessments

Every five years, each local public health agency in Colorado uses data to examine the health of the community they serve and identifies solutions to address the important health issues found in the assessment. The Community Health Assessment is required for all local public health agencies per the Colorado Public Health Act of 2008 (SB 08-194 CRS 25-1-501 et seq.) and the national Public Health Accreditation Board and guides the Boulder County Public Health Public Health Improvement Plan.

2017 Community Health Assessment

In 2017, Boulder County Public Health conducted a thorough assessment of the health of our county’s residents. Along with thorough analysis of demographic and health data, the assessment included conversations with groups of residents to ensure that the community perspective was included, particularly from those experiencing barriers to health (i.e. health inequities).

  • Conversations were facilitated with 53 resident groups (over 600 people) throughout the county
  • Groups represented populations facing barriers to health from various ages, races/ethnicities, income levels, and life experiences
  • Residents provided 3,021 ideas about things that could improve their health, marking 1,776 of these ideas as priorities
  • Ideas ranged from nutrition, to accessing health care, to racism. Housing and mental health were identified as the top priorities
  • More information abbot the Community Health Assessment process is contained in the tabs below

Mental Health Selected by Community Vote in 2017

Residents, stakeholders, and partners voted and identified mental health as the focus for Boulder County Public Health and community partners for the next five years.

They are sitting on modern orange chairs with laptops and taking notesIn 2018, Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) staff refined the community priority, mental health, into more focused, actionable terms for planning. This was done through a number of activities:

  • Key informant interviews
  • Root Cause Analysis
  • Best practice research
  • Policy research

Greatest Local Needs

In early 2018, Boulder County Public Health staff completed key informant interviews with county and regional representatives from health care, human service, mental health, and public health providers. The six interviews conducted with community health providers represented a range of providers, systems, and approaches in the county. These interviews helped identify three key areas of need related to mental health in Boulder County: early childhood, populations with converging needs, and access to services.

Drivers & Current Efforts

Boulder County Public Health staff then conducted root cause analyses around each of the three areas and identified drivers at the root of each one. The analysis included a scan of current efforts, and found that existing agency and county working groups are addressing many of the mental health issues related to early childhood and populations with converging needs. BCPH staff presented the results of these analyses to the PHIP Executive Steering Committee (ESC) in May 2018.

Based on this information, the PHIP ESC determined that the greatest area of need and opportunity rested with a focus on access to services.
Results of the Root Cause Analysis: Access to mental health services

Improving Access to Mental Health Services

Barriers to accessing mental health services in Boulder County communities include:

  • A shortage of community mental health providers that address priority populations.
  • Insufficient psychiatric care options across multiple settings in Boulder County.
  • Silos related to care, which reinforces stigma and negatively impacts integration of care and health outcomes.
  • Inadequate insurance coverage of mental health.
  • A healthcare system that prioritizes acute care over preventive services.

With this new focus, BCPH staff researched best practices around improving access at the community level, and developed a robust list of options and models. BCPH staff also conducted initial policy research and identified areas of potential opportunity. These efforts, combined with ongoing consultation of PHIP ESC members, pointed toward the school-aged population of Boulder County as a ripe possibility for enhanced prevention and intervention efforts early in life.

2011 Community Health Assessment

To determine the health status of the Boulder County community and the community’s capacity to provide the ten essential public health services, two assessments were completed.

Boulder County Health Prioritization & Capacity Assessment

  • 300 questions designed to generate discussion and a rating of the major activities, components, and practice areas for each essential service
  • Group discussion and consensus-building yielded a collective rating, a quantitative score, as well as qualitative data.

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