Since 2018, Connections IN Health has made significant progress in addressing health issues in Indiana communities, and now it has established itself as an empowering resource within the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI).
Now the organization is taking the next step and starting a five-year project. This effort involves going county to county helping communities identify, understand, and take action to help with Indiana’s health issues. The project is called County Engagement.
This effort is being led by the four statewide Connections IN Health initiatives which receive funding from the Indiana Department of Health: The Indiana Joint Asthma Coalition, Hoosier Health and Wellness Alliance, Cardiovascular and Diabetes Coalition of Indiana, and Cancer Control, Prevention and Equity. Each initiative has proven its value by helping Indiana residents live healthier and more informed lives. Connections IN Health leaders have identified 10 counties they believe to have the most opportunity for growth and already have existing coalitions. Connections IN Health’s County Engagement project will use specific county health and social determinants data to provide background information that will help guide the action and lead each county to better overall health.
When the project begins in an individual county, an interest survey is launched, and community members are invited to participate in listening sessions where they can share their perspectives on successes and challenges in the county related to chronic disease. After the initial data is collected, the Connection IN Health team will share the results, allowing people in the community to interpret the issues and act on them according to how they see fit. As they move forward, leaders of Connections IN Health will also provide resources and expand the county network with collation experts.
The first counties involved with this process are Blackford, Grant, Vermillion, and Washington Counties. People in each county have already established goals and will be hosting events this summer addressing the identified issue.
The Indiana CTSI will be sharing stories about the four counties as part of a special series, with more information about how each has planned to address its goals and the outcomes of each.