The nationally accredited Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) regularly assesses and updates recommendations for improving the health and well-being of county residents. Fourth Economy led the development of its Community Health Assessment and the newly-released Community Health Improvement Plan to assist the County in this effort. The 2023-2027 "Plan for a Healthier Allegheny" focuses on physical health, behavioral health, and the environment and aims to make the county a healthy place to live, work, learn, and play.
In developing the plan, Fourth Economy engaged in a collaborative process with ACHD, community organizations, and county residents. The project included data analysis and visualization to update the county’s health indicators and virtual listening sessions where residents shared health concerns and helped to establish priorities for improving conditions. Sessions focused on chronic disease and prevention, environmental health, overdose prevention, family and child health, and violence prevention.
In all, 6,645 residents provided input from local organizations and partner agencies. The resulting plan identified eight goals, 37 objectives, and 59 metrics for improving physical, behavioral, and environmental health by promoting healthy lifestyles, decreasing disparities, and expanding participation in existing behavior and mental health programs.
The plan includes current conditions, including data that assesses the impacts of COVID-19, and is forward-looking in considering the impacts of climate change, racism, and gun violence on public health.
Although dozens of organizations and hundreds of residents participated in the development of both the 2022 Community Health Assessment and the Plan for a Healthier Allegheny 2023-27, the ACHD plans to expand outreach to share the community’s plan, encourage those already working to achieve the goals and objectives, and recruit new parties to the effort.
Each year the ACHD will report to the community on the progress made towards improving the health of residents. In those areas with the greatest need for additional work, the ACHD will explore the formation of new strategic partnerships and initiatives. In this way, the ACHD will seek to apply its resources where they are most needed and encourage others to do the same.
Currently, the ACHD produces a variety of reports and maintains updated data on the health status and outcomes in the region, but tackling many of the metrics for the Plan for a Healthier Allegheny 2023-27 will require ongoing and regularly scheduled surveys. The ACHD and county partners are developing strategic and long-term plans to track the metrics identified in the Plan for a Healthier Allegheny 2023-27. Potential strategies include oversampling county residents using ongoing national surveys or alternately fielding a county-specific survey every 3 to 4 years.
If your community is looking to conduct robust and inclusive community engagement for your community health needs or other projects, reach out to us to discuss how the Fourth Economy team can support you, or join us for our webinar Connecting Public Voices to Decision-Making.