Community Health Improvement
We mobilize our public health system partners along with individuals in the community to improve health. This is how we’re doing it. 
Our Approach

"Nothing About Us Without Us"

Our community health improvement planning is based on the national Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) model, a community-wide strategic planning process that provided us with a framework, guidance, structure, and best practices for developing a healthier community. The Community Health Improvement Steering Committee guides the work for each phase of the process and includes representation from the Black Hawk County Public Health, Cedar Valley United Way, MercyOne, Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Peoples Community Health Clinic, UnityPoint Health, and the University of Northern Iowa.

"Nothing About Us Without Us" emerged an often cited phrase used by participants during the co-creation of strategic actions. This idea - that no action should be decided without the direct participation of members of the group(s) affected by that action – also defines the transformational nature of this community’s collaborative plan. Initial steps in the action cycle will focus on seeking alignment and accountability regarding community resources and gaps as well as performing research to develop culturally-specific actions and plans that consider race, ethnicity and geography.

Community Health Assessment (CHA)

The focus of the 2022 CHA was to update the 2020 quantitative data as well as obtain public feedback on the priority issues that affect healthy living and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This update, combined with the 2020 CHA, includes data collection and analysis of the four MAPP assessments that measure varying aspects of health for the Black Hawk County community. Approximately 2,000 community members and 55 key partners participated in the process.

Fact sheets summarizing the updated CHA were shared throughout the community with a request to complete an input survey on how the community’s health has changed over the past three years and how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted health priorities. 315 responses were recorded. With support from the Otto Schoitz Foundation, COVID-19 Impact Focus groups were conducted with Black/African American, Burmese, Congolese, Hispanic/Latinx, and Rural focus groups. Results were used in the determination of priority issues and for improvement planning.

Taking Action

The Black Hawk County Community Health Steering Committee
adopted Food Insecurity and Mental Health & Trauma as priority issues for the Community Health Improvement Plan.
Access to Care and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) were identified as emerging issues. Community organizations, coalitions, and individuals are urged to consider prioritizing actions for these issues.

Health Equity

Foundational Principle

A focus on the root causes of inequities are foundational for Community Health Improvement.

Food Insecurity

Our Goal

Increase equitable access to healthy foods to improve the health of Black Hawk County community members.

Mental Health & Trauma

Our Goal

Increase understanding, access and utilization of mental health services through trauma-informed, culturally specific care.

Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)

In October 2022, community partners and organizations were invited to consider updates for the CHIP based on the Steering Committee’s recommendations for priority issues. Participants reviewed the process for this update cycle, heard key actions that were already implemented and received the focus groups results. Following the general session, participants broke into three groups for facilitated discussions on Health Equity along with CHIPs for Food Insecurity and Mental Health & Trauma.

Based on these discussions, an initial CHIP was written and shared with the Steering Committee and then with the October meeting participants. The final plan was distributed in January 2023. A workplan with timelines and lead organizations will be followed for each of the CHIP strategies and the Steering Committee will work with the lead organizations to facilitate implementation and provide support as needed.

The Steering Committee continues to meet to guide the ongoing work of the current CHIP and plan for the next community health improvement cycle.