Community Health Improvement (CHI) Week is celebrated the first week in June to honor individuals and organizations who work to bridge gaps and improve health in their community. Whether focusing on vulnerable populations or a specific health concerns, such as COVID-19, CHI week is an opportunity to increase awareness and highlight the impact of community health partners.
Throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, community partners across the Dakotas have come together to support COVID testing, contact tracing, surge response and, most recently, to lead the nation in the COVID vaccine roll-out.
New and stronger partnerships have formed among stakeholders and community health professionals during this challenging time. Multiple projects continue to move forward in North Dakota to improve community health, including these examples of collaboration:
- Blue Zone projects are designed to make sustainable changes within communities to make health choices easier. The North Dakota Department of Health has supported assessments in multiple communities with hopes to work with community partners to implement Blue Zone projects.
- North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension initiated the North Dakota’s Aging in Community (AIC) Project in 2020 in the Lisbon area and rural Morton County, two rural communities in the state. The AIC Project aims to replicate a successful community-based model of care for older adults and their family members. Funding from the Home and Community-based Services Program Development grant through the ND Department of Human Services will support creation of needed services and supports for older adults and their family members. The intent is to avoid duplication of services and to strengthen the reach from existing providers and family caregivers. Additional grant funding has been secured to allow the full development of these projects over the next three years, including planning, implementation, sustainability and evaluation.
- Fargo-Cass Public Health, Sanford Health, and Essentia Health collaborated to operate a joint vaccination center. This centralized site accommodated the COVID-19 immunization demand when vaccines became available. It reduced strain on clinic locations, allowing them to continue normal patient care.
CHI Week materials and resources will be available to express gratitude to dedicated community and health stakeholders. Use #CommunityHealthImprovementWeek or #CHIWeek on social media to spread the word.