The Health Improvement Plan of Washtenaw County (HIP) is a community health assessment and planning effort aimed at improving the health of county residents. The project began in 1994 with the formation of the Community Health Committee (CHC), a collaborative body comprised of representatives from the Health Department, local health systems, numerous community agencies, coalitions, local businesses and lay citizens, all working together to improve health.
In 2000, HIP completed the first cycle of a three part health improvement process. The process included a county-wide health assessment (including a review of morbidity and mortality statistics, a thousand household telephone survey regarding health risks and health behaviors, and qualitative data regarding community perspectives of health issues facing the county); a planning phase to establish health priorities and goals; and implementation of health improvement strategies to address priority health issues. The year 2001 marked the beginning of a second cycle of the entire process. In that year, a full report was prepared on our progress toward HIP Objectives, Moving in a Healthy Direction.
The CHC is the umbrella group that oversees the project. The group hosts quarterly meetings which feature guest speakers on health issues pertaining to HIP goals, reports on health improvement projects, and time for discussion and networking. There are also two subcommittees responsible for much of the ongoing work to maintain the HIP project. These are the Implementation Team and the Coordinating Committee. The Implementation Team focuses on data gathering and analysis, and supporting community involvement in HIP, and maintains contact with numerous community-based coalitions that work toward HIP goals. The Coordinating Committee sets the agenda for CHC meetings and considers bigger picture issues that may affect HIP.
HIP provides both a challenge and an opportunity for the individual and corporate citizens of Washtenaw County to make a commitment to improve health for all. Our hope is that these goals and objectives will enable a unified front within the county for addressing these urgent local issues. We encourage involvement from all members of our community. Our likelihood of reaching targets is much greater when we unite our efforts.