What is population health? The CDC defines population health as “bringing significant health concerns into focus and addressing ways that resources can be allocated to overcome the problems that drive poor health conditions in the population.”
Great examples of population health occur daily at the Meigs County Health Department. The Meigs County Health Department adopted a Community Health Assessment (CHA) and a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) to aid in the achieving successful population health. The CHA and CHIP guide the actions taken within the health department to better form to Meigs County and its health needs.
There are many positions within the health department that are geared towards improving population health. For instance, Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) focuses on active living and healthy eating. CHC and many other programs distribute resources throughout Meigs County to promote population health and its purpose. More examples include the tobacco cessation program, WIC, environmentalist duties, recent COVID-19 response, Maternal and Child Health, immunizations and many more. All programs work with either people, facilities or all the above to strive for better health.
“The overall goal of a population health approach is to maintain and improve the health of the entire population and to reduce inequalities in health between population groups,” the population being Meigs County.
In fact, the health department’s mission: “To preserve, promote, and protect the health and well-being of Meigs County,” aligns with the definition of population health by providing many necessary tools to preserve, promote and protect everyone in the entire county.
Understanding the population’s health can lead to better, overall healthcare within the county by reducing a number of preventable visits; and ultimately, population health is important because it improves livelihood.
Sara Hill is the Creating Healthy Communities Project Director and Health Educator at the Meigs County Health Department.