Get Healthy Idaho Community: WICHC in Elmore County
The research is clear: Up to 80% of what makes us healthy is determined by factors outside of clinic walls, such as access to affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, nutritious foods, livable incomes, and quality educational opportunities.
Get Healthy Idaho provides a unique opportunity to effectively invest in innovative place-based and community determined solutions that address the root causes of poor health.
Get Healthy Idaho's First Funded Community: WICHC - Elmore County
In late 2020, the Western Idaho Community Health Collaborative (WICHC) in partnership with Elmore County Health Coalition (ECHC), was selected as the first Get Healthy Idaho funded community.
This four-year initiative will bring intentional community led investments to Elmore County to create conditions that allow for optimal health and resiliency.
The most vulnerable members of Elmore County face persistent mental and behavioral health challenges, along with chronic disease outcomes and risk factors, including diabetes and food insecurity.
Recent community health assessment findings from the county revealed residents are concerned with increased stress and isolation and are struggling with poverty, inadequate housing, and low educational attainment. While 41 percent of Elmore County is considered ALICE (Access Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), nearly 55 percent of children in the county live below the Federal Poverty Level. These and other challenges have contributed to higher than average rates of suicide and chronic diseases in the county.
WICHC's community focused strategy includes three phases:
Qualitative Community Assessment (Jan-May 2021): Early within this phase, a Community Action Team convened to plan and implement their community assessment strategy, expand partnerships and build bridges that connect representatives from marginalized groups, including veterans and Hispanic/Latinx residents. Focus groups, one-on-one interviews and online surveys have all been used to gain an in-depth understanding of of the key drivers to persistent health challenges along with potential solutions.
Action Plan Development (Summer 2021): The community assessment will guide the development of an action plan in phase two of the initiative.
Implementation (Fall 2021-2024): The remaining three years of the initiative will be devoted to implementation of action plan strategies.
Community engagement and collaboration are central to all phases and will lead the work throughout the initiative. Evaluation of the process and outcomes will also be woven throughout the initiative. Lessons learned from this opportunity will be applied and shared across WICHC communities and with any future Get Healthy Idaho communities
Previous Collaborative Work in Elmore County
Extensive groundwork has already been laid in the county, setting the stage for this next and important round of health investments. Recent policy and environmental changes to promote health in Elmore County include efforts to increase physical activity in early childhood settings, schools, and parks; hosting walkability workshops; including health recommendations in Mountain Home’s Comprehensive Plan; installing tobacco-free signage; expanding food access and a food pantry in Mountain Home School District; and expanding behavioral health services.
Questions about Get Healthy Idaho can be directed to: GetHealthyIdaho@dhw.idaho.gov