Eagle County public health officials hope for more inclusion drafting public health improvement plan | VailDaily.com

Eagle County public health officials hope for more inclusion drafting public health improvement plan

Plan will rely on community input to improve outcomes

The MIRA bus, a collaborative effort between Eagle County, Vail Health and other public and nonprofit groups, will be a part of Eagle County's work in drafting its next Public Health Improvement plan.
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Who’s driving? County health officials believe these groups are least represented in the civic process. Youth LGBTQ+ Older adults Those with disabilities Latinos

Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry has seen any number of five-year plans left to linger. The county health department is tackling its plan right on time.

The Eagle County commissioners, meeting as the county Board of Health, Tuesday heard an update from county health officials about the status of a new, five-year Public Health Improvement Plan. The most recent plan was finished in 2018 and runs through this year.

The plan, a state requirement, involves collecting a lot of data. A draft report is expected in November, with approval coming by Dec. 5.

There’s a lot of work to do between now and then, including a lot of community outreach.

While much of the work will come this year, health department director Heath Harmon said there’s been nearly a year of preliminary work to get to this point. The internal work has taken a look at what kind of capacity the county needs to meet the goals of the new plan. That’s taken a lot of staff time. Harmon said of the roughly 50 department employees, about 30 have participated so far in the planning process.

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Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney asked what kinds of questions will be asked of participants.

McQueeney noted that the choice of survey questions can lead to answers that may or may not be useful. She noted that for several years, the Vail Valley Partnership’s annual workforce survey didn’t acknowledge a shortage of childcare resources simply because the question wasn’t part of the survey.

Joan Dieter, the department’s health families coordinator noted that questions will ask what participants believe a “healthy, vibrant community” looks like.

The planning process will also ask how current resources are being used.

Harmon said he’d like to make the services of Rocky Mountain Harm Reduction more accessible. Harmon noted that there’s starting to be data available from a program that provides a home visit to those with new babies.

“We’re starting to feel comfortable in how we’re providing services,” Dieter said. “We anticipate by around June we’ll have a good snapshot of how the program is working.

The commissioners convene quarterly as the Board of Health. Chandler-Henry said she’d like to see brief, written updates of the project’s progress about every month between those updates.

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