Health Department holds public forum on community health issues

Monday, January 13, 2014 | 7:47 p.m. CST; updated 5:46 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 15, 2014

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Department of Health wants to hear public opinions Tuesday about a process to improve community health.

The process is called Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships, or MAPP, and is a national model to use community input to develop a health improvement plan, said Scott Clardy, assistant director of Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. He explained the process in a video on the department's website.

The department is in the final phase of the six-phase process. The effort began last January and is set to finish with action items in March. Part of the process is an open forum Tuesday night where community members can give their input.

The department partnered with representatives from local stakeholders, including health care providers, schools and neighborhood groups. The representatives formed the Community Health Assessment Mobilization Partnership, or CHAMP.

"They are providing input into what they feel like we need to be doing and what direction we need to be going and how we go about doing that how we involve the community even more," Clardy explained in the video.

CHAMP identified five strategic issues during phase four, which concluded in November 2013, according to a MAPP newsletter.

The strategic issues are:

  •  How do we prevent crime and promote safe and healthy neighborhoods where people live, work and play?
  • How do we create a community and environment which provides access, opportunities and encouragement for healthy lifestyles?
  • How can we increase access to and utilization of comprehensive health services?
  • How do we address the root causes of health disparities to ensure healthy equity?
  • How do we reduce risky behaviors and the stigma associated with behavioral health?

The community forum Tuesday night will provide an opportunity for the public to weigh in on these issues.

"We would love to have their (people) input, and it is a perfect opportunity for them to do that," Clardy said in the video. "And so they can come and drop in at anytime, there won't be any formal presentation or anything like that."

The community forum will be an open house format with refreshments. People can come anytime between 5 and 7 p.m. at the Activity and Recreation Center, 1701 W. Ash St.

Supervising editor is Stephanie Ebbs.

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