County Health Assessment
County Health Councils
Tennessee's County Health Councils were established in the 1990's as a way to bring together community partners from different sectors to utilize local data and pursue common solutions for shared issues. More than two decades later, these groups continue to build relationships, share resources, and promote work that enhances community health and well-being.
Health Councils exist in all 95 counties with TDH directly supporting those councils in the 89 rural counties through funding and staffing support. Because County Health Councils are represented by a diverse set of stakehoders in positions of influence, they are ideal groups for facilitating conversations across sectors, connecting and collaborating with stakeholders and decision-makers on effective policies and systems changes, conducting county health assessments to establish shared priorities, and implementing collaborative action plans to address those priorities. While membership and mission of County Health Councils may vary from county to county, typical sectors represented include education, planning, local government, health care, mental health, juvenile justice, local non-profits, social service organizations, and community members.
County Health Assessment
The County Health Assessment (CHA) aims to increase the impact of existing Health Councils by providing a framework for councils to conduct a locally-led needs assessment process. The CHA guides Health Council members through data collection and review to determine up to three priorities for the County Health Council to address through cross-sector collaboration.
The Tennessee Department of Health completed a pilot CHA process January-July, 2019. Sixteen counties representing each of TDH's 7 rural regions participated in the pilot. Through this process, each county brought together diverse stakeholders to look at data, identify disparities, and select up to three priority areas to work on. Building on local expertise and community engagement, and with focus on vulnerable populations, the CHA was able to drive collaborative action on upstream drivers of health.
County Health Assessment Goals
1. Increase overall stakeholder engagement and participation in Health Council meetings/activities
2. Support local leadership by providing County Health Councils with structure, support, and resources aimed at identifying and addressing common priorities
3. Facilitate the development of 3-year action plans for each County Health Council participating in the CHA process
4. Provide a platform to integrate and align local and state-level strategic planning