By Chloe Donohoe
North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) staff hosted their first Community Input Session of the Healthy North Carolina 2030 (HNC 2030) project on Wednesday, February 27th. Project Director Brieanne Lyda-McDonald, Associate Director Berkeley Yorkery, and Research Assistants Chloe Donohoe and James Coleman traveled to Greenville, NC to hear from public health professionals and community members about the health indicators that matter to them most. This meeting followed the morning session of Health ENC partners working on the community health assessment process across counties of Eastern North Carolina.
In preparation for these community input sessions, HNC 2030 Work Group members discussed hundreds of potential health indicators related to physical environment, health behaviors, social and economic factors, and clinical care. The initial lists of indicators were drawn from several state-level action plans for health improvement, many of which cross-cut the drivers of health outlined in the County Health Rankings model and make up the focus of the HNC 2030 Work Groups. Work Group members were presented with the health equity framework of the project and principles of indicator selection (e.g., measurable, understandable, prevention-focused) to guide their selection. Within small groups, they pared the lists down to the top 6-12 for community members to review and rank. NCIOM staff also compiled a list of potential “Overall Health Outcomes” that will be discussed by the full Task Force of experts and advocates.
The Greenville meeting attendees reviewed the narrowed lists of health indicators developed by the project’s Work Group members. Meeting attendees were guided through four discussion periods, giving them the opportunity to individually rank the importance of the indicators presented to them and identify any they felt were missing. Group discussion allowed attendees to discuss the lists of indicators in the context of the health issues faced by their communities. Discussions were lively and many groups employed techniques of consensus building to identify their “Top 3” indicators to share with the larger group. This process allowed for attendees from 29 counties to find common ground in their understanding of the health landscape within their communities and across the state. Worksheets completed by each attendee allowed NCIOM staff to gather the individual rankings for analysis.
The community input session ended with a brief presentation about the Accountable Care Communities (ACC) model and its importance in the statewide shift from health care in a clinical sense to population health and well-being. The NCIOM spent the last year convening the NCIOM Task Force on Accountable Care Communities and worked with project stakeholders to develop a Guide to Starting an Accountable Care Community with information to help communities interested in developing an ACC model get started. Promotion of ACCs complements the HNC 2030 process well, since this model fosters authentic community engagement and cross-sector partnerships to successfully share the responsibility of addressing the drivers of health while reducing, or holding steady, health spending.
NCIOM staff will be traveling to Henderson and Pembroke communities next week, and five other counties after that. Please see our webpage for more information and to register.