Health Priorities

HLA seeks to improve community health in three key areas:

Community Health Needs Assessment

These priorities were first established in 2016 for the Springfield Community through a regional approach. Under the umbrella of the Ozarks Health Commission, this collaborative group brings together health care, public health and community partners from multiple counties, states and health systems to better leverage collective impact. Together, OHC members use this systematic, data-driven assessment to inform decisions and guide efforts to improve community health and wellness on a regional level. This larger, concerted approach has leveraged common strengths and strategies to move in the same direction on significant health concerns.

In 2019, these priorities were again agreed upon for the Springfield Community. HLA’s role is to be the driving force behind the resulting Community Health Improvement Plan. This includes three priority strategies:

  • Expansion of Tobacco 21
    • The strategy focuses on passing ordinances in Greene County and Republic, creating a comprehensive policy approach within the community. 
    • Goal: 10% reduction in tobacco use rates
  • Feasibility of Family Connects model
    • The program seeks to provide community support to all parents and their newborn infants through in-home nurse case management
      Family Connects model: community connections, enhanced use of higher quality childcare, higher-quality parenting behaviors, enhanced home environments, improved maternal mental health, reduced use of emergency medical services for infants
  • Inclusion of health as a component of the Springfield Comprehensive Plan 
    • Goal: Health will be actively considered in 8-12 elements, anticipated to be targeted during the development of the plan by December 2021. 

Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Assessment

Also in 2019, Springfield and Greene County leaders recognized mental health and the often-connected issue of substance abuse needed to be addressed. But with little understanding of underlying causes, the breadth of these issues in the community, or how to best address concerns, the path forward was unclear. An assessment of these issues in our community was necessary to determine a path toward improvement. Although both mental illness and substance abuse can occur independently of one another, they are two issues that are often co-occurring. For this reason, this assessment studies both conditions, their impact on one another, and the effects for broader community.

HLA Advisory Council provided direction and feedback to Crescendo Consulting Group as they worked to collect information from various stakeholders throughout the community. Using the information Crescendo gathered, assembled, analyzed and reported, the members of HLA completed a validated process to arrive at a set of prioritized mental health needs in the Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Assessment.

Currently, HLA’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Task Force is studying feasibility of potential interventions to improve mental health and substance abuse in our community.