Where is the greatest need?

Community identifies areas of focus for health programs

Every three years, the Community Health Improvement team at The University of Vermont Medical Center leads a project to determine which health-related problems in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties require the most attention. Rising to the top in 2016 were affordable housing, substance abuse and mental health.

The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is created with extensive community input and includes a review of health data and public opinions covering a wide range of topics.

Simply put, people who have access to decent housing, healthy food and other basic resources are much healthier than those who do not.”

Eileen Whalen, RN, MHA
President and COO
UVM Medical Center

“The CHNA is critical to guiding the work we do with our community partners to keep people healthy,” said Penrose Jackson, director of Community Health Improvement for the UVM Medical Center.

Access to healthy food, economic opportunity, and support for young children and their families were among the remaining issues on the list of top 10 priorities.

“The CHNA is particularly valuable because it looks beyond strictly medical problems to identify the social and environmental needs that are so important in determining someone’s health status,” said Eileen Whalen, MHA, RN, president and chief operating officer of the UVM Medical Center.

“Simply put, people who have access to decent housing, healthy food and other basic resources are much healthier than those who do not, so we have to focus on these issues if we’re going to improve the health of our community and control costs.”

In addition to developing the CHNA, UVM Medical Center has created a three-year implementation strategy to address many of the identified needs.

You can see the full report here.

Listen to an interview with Penrose Jackson on VPR.