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Posted on: November 29, 2018

Health District seeks public perspective on Snohomish County’s top health issues

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that Americans’ life expectancy has declined for the third year in a row, largely due to drug overdoses and suicides. These are trends being seen here in Snohomish County as well, which is why suicide and opioids are already among the eight key health issues being analyzed by the Snohomish Health District as a part of its Community Health Assessment process.

For much of 2018, Health District staff and community partners have been meeting as a task force to analyze more than 150 health indicators. The eight topics that have emerged as key issues are:

  • Youth mental health
  • Suicide
  • Children’s dental health
  • Opioids
  • Primary care provider access
  • Housing/vacancy/homelessness
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native disparities
  • Youth obesity

For the first time, the Health District is hosting public data walk events as part of the assessment and planning process. The first walk on Nov. 27 brought together close to 40 people to look at data presented and share their observations. Facilitated work in small groups then explored related health disparities, potential root causes, and conversations about actions that may best address the top concerns.

There are two more upcoming data walks, both open to the public:

  • Dec. 4: 1-3 p.m. at Verdant Community Wellness Center, 4710 196th St. SW, Lynnwood
  • Dec. 11: 6-8 p.m. at Monroe High School, 17001 Tester Road, Monroe

This process culminates in a report that prioritizes the top health threats impacting Snohomish County, and is also utilized by hospitals, governmental agencies and non-profits for future programming and grant applications. Once finalized, those top priorities get developed into a community health improvement plan with strategies and key activities for the next 4-5 years.

“These data walks and community contributions are vital as we move forward into community health improvement planning in 2019,” said Dr. Mark Beatty, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “We expect these events will also help build capacity throughout the communities we serve to begin addressing these issues.”

To RSVP for one of the data walks, go to https://bit.ly/2DPA7yC or email sdejong@snohd.org.

 The Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. To read more about the District and for important health information, visit www.snohd.org.

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