Forum Draws Diverse Audience to Address County’s Health Needs
PORTLAND, Maine — February 10, 2012 – More than 150 people representing healthcare organizations, social service agencies, businesses, schools, state government and the state legislature participated in the Community Health Needs Assessment Forum recently held at MaineHealth in Portland. It was the last in a series of 20 events offered around the state to develop county-specific recommendations that address the major healthcare issues facing Maine.
Each forum focused on the issues identified in the first statewide Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), a 262-page report released last April. The CHNA is designed to provide a “health status” of Maine’s population, and offers a county level perspective of the health challenges and assets within the State of Maine. It covers all 16 Maine counties and looks at topics from diabetes to substance abuse to infectious disease. A link to the complete report is available at www.mainehealth.org.
“The Community Health Needs Assessment is a snapshot that is designed to be a conversation starter,” said Deborah Deatrick, vice president of Community Health at MaineHealth. “It brings together data from several sources to provide a comprehensive look at the state of our health, by county, and it is a powerful tool to use in discussing what we can do collectively to make improvements.”
Colleen Hilton, chair of the Cumberland County District Coordinating Council, the group charged with following up on the report’s findings, echoed that sentiment. “The report makes it clear that we all must work together to address our area’s issues. Collaboration is an easy word to say, but it’s hard work. Bringing together representatives from a wide range of interested groups to discuss how we move forward is the first step.” Hilton noted that she has used the CHNA for planning efforts in her many roles, including as mayor of Westbrook.
The CHNA is a joint effort of OneMaine Health Collaborative, a partnership between Eastern Maine Health System, MaineGeneral Health and MaineHealth designed to foster collaboration on public health initiatives to serve the best interest of the people of Maine.
The Cumberland County Forum was hosted by Cumberland District Public Health Council, Healthy Maine Partnerships, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Medical Center, Mercy Hospital, New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland, Maine Mental Health Partners and United Way of Greater Portland.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit family of leading high-quality providers and other healthcare organizations working together so their communities are the healthiest in America. Ranked among the nation's top 100 integrated healthcare delivery networks, MaineHealth's member organizations include Maine Medical Center, Miles Memorial Hospital, LincolnHealth – St. Andrews Campus & Healthcare Center, Southern Maine Medical Center, Pen Bay Medical Center, Stephens Memorial Hospital, Waldo County General Hospital, Spring Harbor Hospital, HomeHealth Visiting Nurses, Maine Physician Hospital Organization, NorDx and Synernet. Affiliates of MaineHealth include MaineGeneral Medical Center, Mid Coast Hospital, St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland.
Vice President, Community Health