What does community health mean to you?

Categories: Community Engagement, Well Nourished

In recognition of Community Health Improvement Week, (May 31st to June 6th) Healthy Monadnock would like to honor the hard work and dedication of the people that lead the Community Health programs at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock -Keene.

Community health programs are typically focused in three areas; services, promotion and prevention. Here is an overview of the programs at Cheshire Med.

Services – care provision with an emphasis on preventive and primary medical care, public health services and the management of chronic diseases.

Promotion – educational, social and environmental supports to change behaviors;

  • Community Health education classes
  • Monadnock HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) for organizations
  • Healthy Monadnock 2020

Protection – avoiding unintentional injuries; ensuring air, water and food safety; ensuring availability of healthy foods; etc.

These programs are critical in helping us achieve our goal of becoming the healthiest community in the nation. You typically hear Healthy Monadnock touting active living and healthy eating, but this is only part of the picture.

Currently, the US spends more than any other country on healthcare, yet we have one of the lowest life expectancy rates. Why? Because we aren’t addressing the root causes of health. There are three primary factors that influence our health:

  1. Behaviors and environment (70%)
  2. Genetics (20%)
  3. Medical Care (10%)

However, out of $2.4 trillion dollars being spent on U.S. health care,  only 4% goes towards programming for prevention – areas associated with behaviors and environments. That means that annually, $2.34 trillion dollars are spent on medical care that ONLY influences our health at 10%.  This might be the reason that much of the work by community health departments goes unnoticed, but has a significant impact on the economic health of a region. For example:

For more information about the community health programs offered in the Monadnock region, contact our Community Health Department at 354-5600 or visit us at Cheshire Medical’s wellness page.