Community Health Needs Assessment

coverslideA 2015 survey completed by 597 residents in the Chequamegon Bay area overwhelmingly identified alcohol and other drug as their primary health concern. The survey was part of Memorial Medical Center, Ashland County Health and Human Services and Bayfield County Public Health’s joint efforts to address health needs of the region.

The results were shared with regional stakeholders during a half-day session at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center in the fall of 2015. At this meeting, the 48 attendees also identified alcohol and other drug abuse as the number one health need that needed to be addressed in the region.

Since then, a Community Health Improvement Planning group has been working to identify three specific goals and an accompanying action plan to work on in the coming two years. In April, 2016 the board of trustees at MMC approved these goals. The goals, which focus around treatment, prevention and advocacy include:

• Research opportunities to improve recovery capacity of Bayfield County and Ashland County residents addicted to methamphetamine and build internal capacity to achieve and sustain a systems level local response.
• Implement strategies designed to reduce access to alcohol by individuals under the age of 21 in Bayfield and Ashland counties.
• Advocate and educate for policy change to decrease alcohol and other drug abuse in Ashland and Bayfield counties.

MMC Chief Operating Officer Karen Hansen says the collaboration between MMC and Ashland and Bayfield counties is in alignment with our mission to be community partners. “We have limited resources in the region and share a common vision of improving the overall health of our communities. By working together and collaborating with countless other organizations addressing this issue, we hope to make real progress in this growing issue in our region.”