Community Health Needs Assessment

In the summer of 2018, the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) Steering Committee, composed of Memorial Medical Center, Ashland County Health and Human Services, Bayfield County Health Department, Iron County Health Department, and Pete Morrisette, Public Health Educator from Bayfield County Health Department, began a reassessment process to determine the top health needs of residents that live in the Northern Wisconsin communities of Ashland, Bayfield, and Iron Counties.

The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) was drafted with the goals of the state’s Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 plan in mind. The survey was distributed throughout the three-county region. Both online and paper versions of the survey were delivered to residents through county websites and canvassing across the three counties. Community gatherings such as senior meals, county health fairs, local establishments, and community festivals were frequented. A total of 1,020 community members agreed to participate and share their biggest community health concerns in the place they call home. The survey replicated the survey distributed within the last CHNA in 2015.

Survey responses were organized and further supported by data from the state of Wisconsin and national health data. A presentation of these findings was given to 38 local stakeholders on September 12th, 2018, to determine and prioritize the community health needs in Ashland, Bayfield, and Iron Counties. 

During this process the top three priorities identified were: Alcohol and Other Drug Use, Mental Health, and Chronic Disease

With the 2015-2017 CHIP, the CHIP steering committee chose to focus on the top priority, Alcohol and Other Drug Use. The goal of Alcohol and Other Drug Use as the sole priority was to pool CHIP efforts with the idea that this concentrated effort would have the greatest impact. During the 2018 priority meeting, stakeholders expressed a desire to tackle health concerns in the three-county region in a different way than the past CHIP. Community members were enthusiastic about trying new approaches that would support other aspects of health, in addition to reducing the impact of Alcohol and Other Drug Use in the community. From the efforts of this priority meeting and organization by the steering committee, the 2018-2020 CHIP was drafted.