A group of public health, health insurance, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations has released a set recommendations to improve overall community health in the Greater Des Moines area.
The 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment makes recommendations in several areas, including expanding healthcare access, especially mental health services. It also calls for a greater focus on both education and immigrant services.
Rick Kozin heads Polk County’s Health Department. He says the level of collaboration in developing these recommendations is unprecedented since he started with the health department 15 years ago.
"Each of our organizations will use these priorities to help guide our own organizational projects, priorities, investments and policies, but that’s not enough," says Kozin. "If our efforts are not coordinated we run the risk of missing too many value-added options, simply because we’re not continuing to talk to one another."
He adds by focusing on broad factors, it treats health as not the absence of disease, but rather as a complete state of social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.