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Published on December 21, 2016

Altru and Grand Forks Public Health reveal priorities from  Community Health Assessment

Grand Forks, N.D. – Altru Health System and Grand Forks Public Health jointly completed the 2016 Community Health Assessment and have recently revealed the priorities.  The purpose of the assessment remained unchanged from 2013: Improve the overall health of the community by focusing on factors that promote health and wellness (versus treating disease). The geographical region for the assessment’s scope broadened to include Grand Forks County in North Dakota and Polk County in Minnesota.

 Assessment priorities include:

»   Improve access to behavioral health services, including addiction treatment and counseling

»   Reduce incidence of prescription and illegal drug abuse

»   Reduce the rate of obesity

»   Reduce the incidence of binge drinking and alcohol abuse

»   Improve care coordination and access to healthcare

“The 2016 Community Health Assessment has taken an active approach by several community partners to understand the full scope of our communities’ needs and assets,” shares Debbie Swanson, director, Grand Forks Public Health. To execute the assessment, Grand Forks Public Health and Altru Health System engaged students from the University of North Dakota’s Master of Public Health Program to survey the residents of the two counties as well as conduct eight focus groups to explore opinions, attitudes and beliefs about health issues that affect our communities. The team also reviewed data from secondary sources to provide a snapshot of the area’s overall health conditions, risks and outcomes.  

“Collaboration is the first step in making successful progress,” says Audrey Lorenz, strategic planning manager, Altru Health System. She goes on to share that Altru and Grand Forks Public Health have a long history of collaboration to improve health. “Together, we are engaging multiple partners to make measurable improvements.”  

The Advisory Committee will now look at the resources that exist in our communities to address these issues, identify gaps and seek ideas that have worked in other communities. Then an improvement plan will be developed and set in place. 

The Advisory Committee includes representation from the following agencies:

»   Grand Forks Public Health

»   Altru Health System

»   Community Violence Intervention Center

»   United Way

»   Grand Forks Public Schools

»   University of North Dakota School of Medicine

»   University of North Dakota

»   Northeast Human Service Center

»   Grand Forks Police Department

»   Grand Forks Fire Department

»   Altru Family YMCA

»   Grand Forks Park District

»   Grand Forks Air Force Base

»   Lipp, Carlson, Witucki & Associates

»   Grand Forks Senior Center

»   Third Street Clinic

»   Grand Forks City Council

»   Faith Community

»   Global Friends Coalition

»   Valley Community Health Center

»   Polk County Public Health

»   Grand Forks County Commission

About Altru Health System

Altru Health System is a community-owned, integrated system with an acute care hospital, a specialty hospital, more than a dozen clinics in Grand Forks and the region, and a large home care network. It employs more than 200 physicians and 4,000 staff and has an annual net operating revenue of more than $524 million. As the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Altru’s providers have access to clinically integrated tools extending Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise to patients.

About Grand Forks Public Health

The Grand Forks Public Health Department provides services to the city and county of Grand Forks, North Dakota.  It believes in creating a culture in which all people have the means and the opportunity to make choices that lead to the healthiest lives possible. They facilitate policy, systems and environmental changes that are supported by businesses, government, individuals all working together to foster healthy communities and lifestyles.