Michigan Tech Assists with UP Health Data Report
Michigan Tech partnered with the six Upper Peninsula health departments and other agencies, to release the first-of-its-kind Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). The 350-page report covers all 15 U.P. counties and is available online. It provides a wealth of information on the health status of the U.P.'s 310,000 residents.
The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) reports that the CHNA is the culmination of an 18-month project led by local health departments in collaboration with hospitals, behavioral health agencies and health foundations. It includes data on health across the lifespan, access to care, community issues like drug abuse and results from an extensive health survey conducted last August.
Kelly Kamm (KIP) was contacted by the WUPHD to conduct the analysis of the Regional Adult Health Survey. "The health department designed and conducted the survey, I was brought in to do the analysis of the data," Kamm says. "I also contributed to writing the text in some of the chapters where the data is interpreted."
Kamm says the survey was important on a couple of levels. "This is an example of how we at Tech can partner in our community to provide expertise to local and regional programs or initiatives. Then, there's the importance of the project itself."
Kate Beer, WUPHD health officer, says, "Community health needs assessment and health improvement planning are core functions of public health. The finding in this report will help healthcare providers and communities address the health needs of people across the region."
Kamm says the information in the report can be useful to individuals as well as the institutions who compiled the report. "Nearly 5,000 people responded to the Adult Health Survey and it is important for everyone to have the opportunity to see how that data is summarized and placed in the context of improving health in our region."
The assessment's key findings include:
- The impact of the region’s aging population on current and future healthcare needs
- The importance of prevention—reducing tobacco use, maintaining a healthy body weight and not drinking to excess—in reducing rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases
- Disparities in health access, behaviors and outcomes for residents of various income and education levels
- Improvements in health insurance coverage over the past few years, countered by persistent widespread health professional shortages for primary care, dental care and behavioral health services
- Residents’ concerns about issues including the high cost of health care, drug abuse and lack of options for long-term care and dementia care, among many community health issues
Kamm says people can look at specific health metrics that may be of interest to them and see where the U.P. fits against the statewide estimates of similar metrics, as well as how the different counties compare to each other.
"The report provides a robust description of the health of adult residents in the U.P., as well as individual and community factors that are related to health."
The report is available on the WUPHD website.