In 2017, a variety of organizations across the Ozarks reconvened under the umbrella of the Ozarks Health Commission to assess the health needs of our region. Building upon the success of the 2016 Regional Health Assessment, partners again sought to better understand the health status, behaviors and needs of the populations they serve.
This 2019 Assessment combines more than 140 hospital and community data indicators as well as feedback from stakeholders and the broader community. This process resulted in three priorities: lung disease, cardiovascular disease and mental health. Weaving among the issues identified were five common threads: access to health care, mental health, physical activity, social determinants of health and tobacco use. Additionally, the health status of populations of interest—such as people in poverty, minorities and the elderly--were also analyzed.
For the purposes of this Assessment, the Springfield Community is made up of Christian, Greene, and Webster counties.
Vulnerable populations—such as people in poverty, minorities, and the elderly— often experience higher rates of chronic illness and worse health outcomes. This can create health disparities between various socioeconomic classes and/or demographic groups. In order to ensure vulnerable and at-risk populations were considered when identifying and addressing community health needs, the Ozarks Health Commission (OHC) developed a process to identify and understand vulnerable populations within each Community.
Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index, the OHC identified nine key factors, or populations, to consider when developing actions to improve prioritized health needs. The table beside includes percentile rankings (values range from 0 – 1, with higher values indicative of greater vulnerability) for each population and highlights populations that are 80%, 85%, and 90% more vulnerable than the same population in other counties in its respective state. For example, Webster County has more youth than 92% of counties in Missouri. The needs of children age 18 years and younger should be considered when developing Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) strategies for this area.
For more information about the methodology used in the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index, click here.
Recognizing the value of
assessing and acting together on local health issues, key players from local
hospital systems, public health entities, and others formed a working group to
begin the task of a regional health assessment. This group grew under the umbrella
of the local Ozarks Health Commission (OHC) and published the first assessments
in 2016. Since that time, the process has been recognized at the annual meeting of
the American Public Health Association, honored as a Promising Practice by the
National Association of County and City Health Officials, and awarded the Group
Merit Award from the Missouri Public Health Association.
Collectively, the assessments
span four states—Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas—29 counties and three
hospital systems. This footprint will be referred to throughout the report as
the OHC Region.