Communities across Cochise County are being encouraged to participate in a major health initiative designed to tackle the issues which mean the most to local citizens.
The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) will help guide area residents in addressing three areas of concern – Mental Health & Substance Abuse, Jobs and a Healthy Economy, and Healthy Eating, Diabetes & Obesity.
These priorities were identified through an extensive Community Health Assessment (CHA) conducted across the county in late 2016 as part of Healthy Cochise: The Cochise Healthy Communities Initiative. The project is a coalition of 45 partners, including the Cochise County Health & Social Services Department, but it is hoped more groups will come on board.
Data gathered via the CHA was used to form the CHIP, which provides guidance for community groups, organizations, and committees working to address the three priority areas.
The five-year plan sets out two goals under each priority (see sidebar), as well as the strategies to achieve them.
Now residents and organizations across the region are being asked to help put CHIP into action either by aligning their own missions with the three priority areas, or by joining one of several task forces addressing health, social and economic factors. Each of these committees will target issues specific to their communities.
“Developing the Community Health Assessment and the Community Health Improvement Plan is a milestone in bringing the communities within our County together,” said Carrie Langley, Director Cochise Health & Social Services. “This process is a roadmap illuminating the path to an exceptional quality of life in our shared vision of a Healthy Cochise.”
There are currently seven healthy community committees in Douglas, Sierra Vista, Fort Huachuca, Willcox, Tombstone, Benson and Bisbee. Citizens or organizations can join an existing committee or start one of their own.
Cochise County Health & Social Services will support the work of these groups by providing a toolkit of resources, helping members select and implement their projects, and offering training. A dedicated staff member will also provide assistance and support.
“Together, the CHA and CHIP can be useful to everyone in assessing needs, providing services, making policy changes, and securing funds for health-related services and projects in all the towns, neighborhoods, and communities in our county,” said Judith Gilligan, Prevention Services Director. “Healthy Cochise wants to help make sure everyone knows what everyone else is doing so we can combine our resources, skills and strengths to leverage even larger resources and to ensure we meet our goals.”
The CHIP community partners include the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona, Copper Queen Community Hospital, Northern Cochise Community Hospital, Benson Hospital, Canyon Vista Medical Center, Cenpatico Integrated Care, Chiricahua Community Health Centers, UofA Cooperative Extension, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, and First Things First Cochise Regional Partnership Council.
To read the CHA and CHIP and to find out more visit www.HealthyCochise.org
To join a committee or to sign up as a Healthy Cochise partner email HealthyCochise@cochise.az.gov
What are the top priorities and goals?
Priority One: Mental Health & Substance Abuse
Goal 1: Create policy change to keep people with mental illness out of jails and prisons
Goal 2: Expand mental health wellness and substance abuse resources for everyone in Cochise County
Priority Two: Good Jobs & Healthy Economy
Goal 1: Promote business growth and job opportunities throughout Cochise County
Goal 2: Promote tourism and cross-border partnerships and business activities for all of Cochise County
Priority Three: Healthy Eating, Diabetes & Obesity
Goal 1: Build and strengthen community options for healthy eating and active living
Goal 2: Change the cultural expectations about the definition of a good and healthy life