Community Health Assessment

CHH_AssessmentAt Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, we believe to make a healthier county, it starts with healthier you!

That’s why in 2012 the hospital joined a coalition of community providers and agencies that, with the assistance of a federal grant, commissioned and funded a comprehensive study of the health status of Litchfield County residents. We determined that it had been years since a study of this kind had been done in our area, and it would be beneficial to the missions and work of all coalition members to partner on the project.  This has become a win-win for all involved – especially to the community at large.

Released in late 2012 and updated in 2015, the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) describes the health of Litchfield County communities by presenting relevant information on socioeconomic and demographic factors affecting health, personal health-related lifestyle practices, health status indicators, community health resources, and studies of current local health issues. The CHNA identifies population groups that may be at increased risk for poor health outcomes, assesses the larger community environment and how it impacts health, and identifies areas where additional or better information is needed.

Among the many findings, the leading health issues in Litchfield County, as in the state and the nation, result from many underlying factors which can be controlled or modified. Harmful lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, overeating, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and substance abuse have major impacts on individual health. Economic and language/cultural factors present barriers to access and utilization of medical care and preventive health services. And, income, employment status, educational attainment, housing, and other social factors impact health or limit access to care.

Uncontrollable factors, including inherited health conditions or increased susceptibility to disease, also significantly influence health. Poverty underlies many of the social factors that contribute to poor health. Differences for many health indicators are also apparent by gender, race/ethnicity, age, and geographic area of residence.

Recent trends in health indicators for county residents show improvement in overall mortality rates for many leading causes of death. There are indications of improvement in personal health habits such as smoking and activity rates and accessing screening services for early detection of certain diseases. However, disparities in health care access and health status in certain populations persist.

Expanded joint planning and coordination of programs and services among community partners can reduce health disparities and improve the health of all county residents.  This coordination exists and efforts are well underway to assure this comprehensive data collection translates into action and ultimately to improved health outcomes. The intent is for the CHNA to have significant value for the community, and to be widely used to advance community health improvement planning by a diverse constituency of private and public agencies.

The study was conducted by the Center for Healthy Schools and Communities at Education Connection in Litchfield, CT, and the Steering Committee included the following individuals and organizations:

Jim Rokos, Director of Health
Torrington Area Health District

Leslie Polito, Assistant Director of Health
Torrington Area Health District

Sharon McCoy, Project Director
Torrington Area Health District

Stephanie Barksdale, Executive Director
United Way of Northwest Connecticut

Greg Brisco, Chief Executive Officer
Northwest Connecticut YMCA

Brian Mattiello, V.P. for Organizational Development
Charlotte Hungerford Hospital

Daniel Baroody, Director of Health
Town of Sharon

Mike Crespan, Director of Health
New Milford Health Department

Donna Culbert, Director of Health
Newtown Health District

Jennifer Kertanis, Director of Health
Farmington Valley Health District

Neal Lustig, Director of Health
Pomperaug Health District

Mary Bevan, Director, Center for Healthy Schools and Communities
EDUCATION CONNECTION

Jim Hutchison, Community Health Coordinator
Sharon Hospital

Andrea Rynn, Director of Public and Government Relations
Western CT Health Network

Mary Winar, Projects Coordinator
Connecticut Office of Rural Health

Click here for the
Community Health Needs Assessment for Northwest Connecticut – 2012 Update

Click here for the
Community Health Improvement Plan – 2016 to 2019