Coalition aims to improve local health outcomes

The Northwest Michigan Chronic Disease Prevention Coalition's summit in September focused on improving community health.

On Sept. 22, 2017, the Chronic Disease Prevention Summit was held at Ferris State University in Big Rapids. The Summit featured the work of the Northwest Michigan Chronic Disease Prevention Coalition, (NWMCDPC). This coalition encapsulates 11 counties: Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola and Wexford. The mission of the NWMCDPC is dedicated to promoting chronic disease related services and prevention opportunities.

A primary focus of the coalition is to promote policy and system change to improve health outcomes. NWMCDPC members meet six times per year, the first Friday of January, March, May, June, September and November.

One unique characteristic about this coalition is their implementation of a task force focused created solely to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the “local population.” Michigan State University Extension is part of the task force, which prioritizes networking and education, while providing technical assistance on best practices for change. 

Critical health issues identified

In early 2016, NWMCDPC, performed a community health needs assessment and identified the top health priorities by county. The top seven needs included:

  1. Tobacco use
  2. Chronic disease
  3. Healthy lifestyle
  4. Substance use disorder
  5. Success to care
  6. Maternal/child health
  7. Health disparities

Based on the critical needs identified in the health assessment, the coalition developed a proposal for funding from the Tencon Health Plan Chronic Disease Prevention Fund. Each of the 11-counties were allocated up to $5,000 for a policy, systems and environmental change intended to reduce chronic disease, which was the start of the “Chronic disease prevention implementation project 16/17.”

Other summit highlights

A common theme I noticed throughout this summit was an emphasis on the local community, and phrases that were stressed included, "keep things local" and "connecting with the community."

Members of the NWMCDPC, including MSU Extension are making huge impacts towards improving health and managing chronic disease. If you want to know more, visit the about the NWMCDPC website.

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