Healthy Montgomery Community Health Improvement Process
Since 2011 we have provided support to Healthy Montgomery, the Community Health Improvement Process for Montgomery County, Maryland. Healthy Montgomery’s purpose is to: identify and describe disparities in health status among the County’s communities and populations, identify unmet health needs, develop and implement action plans to meet those needs, and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies implemented.
Our partnership with Healthy Montgomery includes facilitative leadership, technical assistance, and resource development in these areas:
- Recruiting and convening community partners;
- Soliciting input from community residents;
- Designing and implementing the community health needs assessment and health issue prioritization processes;
- Developing and implementing action plans for community health improvement;
- Preparing action plan reports; and
- Evaluating action plan strategies.
We provide ongoing support to guide the work of the Healthy Montgomery Steering Committee, composed of a broad range of public and private partners including the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, other County government agencies, the County Council, the County’s six non-profit hospitals, and community-based organizations that provide services and advocacy for populations disproportionately affected by poor health.
During the assessment phase of the work, we designed and implemented a series of nearly 20 community engagement sessions — Community Conversations — to gather the perspectives of County residents regarding health and quality of life.
Health Issue Prioritization
We helped to facilitate a health issue prioritization process to assist the Healthy Montgomery Steering Committee in identifying priority areas. Using the results of the community conversations and other health assessment data, the Committee identified six priority health issues for action: behavioral health, obesity, cancers, cardiovascular health, diabetes, and maternal and infant health.
Action Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
Two of the priority areas were chosen for immediate action – behavioral health and obesity. We helped to guide the action planning process of the behavioral health and obesity workgroups. We provided tools, resources and facilitation as the workgroups identified the predominant needs and challenges faced by County residents, considered associated risk factors, inventoried existing resources, programs and policies, and drafted action plans that offer viable community-based solutions and strategies for evaluation. We also helped to write and prepare the groups’ action plan reports. We are currently working with Healthy Montgomery partners to assist with implementation strategies identified through this work in the Community Health Improvement Plan – Chronic Disease, Health in All Policies, and Behavioral Health.
Throughout the process, we respond to various support needs that are specific to the Montgomery County experience. Whether it involves providing tools and resources; conducting background research on proven health improvement strategies; identifying existing resources, programs and policies; collecting, analyzing or presenting data; facilitating meetings; managing program tasks; writing and preparing reports; or assisting with partner engagement – the support offered is customized, builds the capacity of our partners, and promotes effective collaboration for community health improvement.