2023 Community Health Assessment (CHA)


LDCPH, in collaboration with the Community Health Plan (CHP) Steering Committee, has created this Community Health Assessment (CHA) to guide the work ahead. The entire document can be found HERE, but you can also find the 14 Priority Areas from the CHA listed below. 

You can also take our Community Health Assessment survey!

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CHA Opens in new window


Access to Health Care: Access to health services includes the availability of health insurance, decreasing preventable hospitalizations, and increasing access to preventive care. 

Contributing Factor to Health: Access to timely and appropriate health care can help prevent serious illness from developing, control acute episodes, or manage chronic conditions to avoid worsening or complications. Insurance coverage is a way to approximate access to health care. Uninsured adults are less likely to receive preventive services for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer. 


Behavioral Health: Behavioral health intersects with the issues of substance use disorder and deaths of despair, which commonly refers to death from suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism. 

Contributing Factor to Health: Suicide and suicide attempts cause serious emotional, physical impacts. People who attempt suicide and survive may experience serious, life-long injuries and depression and other mental health concerns. Suicide and suicide attempts affect the health and well-being of friends, loved ones, co-workers, and the community, which National Alliance on Mental Illness calls the “ripple effect” of suicide. People with mental illness are more likely to experience a substance use disorder than those not affected by a mental illness. It is generally better to treat SUD and mental disorders together rather than separately, although only 3.4% of adults with co-occurring disorders in the US were able to do so (NSDUH, 2018). 


Birth Outcomes: Infant mortality is defined as death before a child’s first birthday. The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The leading five causes of infant mortality in the United States as of 2020 are birth defects, preterm birth and low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, injuries (e.g. suffocation), and maternal pregnancy complications. 

Contributing Factor to Health: Infant mortality and birth outcomes are important in understanding a population’s overall health because many factors that contribute to infant deaths also affect the health of everyone in a population. For example, access to medicine, trained healthcare providers, and healthy food affect everyone’s health, but can also have a dramatic effect on infant mortality rates. The foundation for lifelong health begins at birth. 


Cardiovascular Disease: Mortality from heart disease includes cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, and chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease. There is local evidence that Mortality from Heart Disease is a large-scale problem that affects different populations unequally. 

Contributing Factor to Health: Heart disease risk factors for heart disease are progressive, meaning that damage is done to the cardiovascular system over time. The risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking. Additional risk factors include advanced age, being male, family history of heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. It is the leading cause of death for men, women, and most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. 


Child Abuse & Neglect 

Contributing Factor to Health: Child abuse and neglect is a kind of adverse childhood experience and trauma which can have profound impacts on health and well-being. Chief among health impacts are those related to behavioral health. Studies have found that childhood abuse and neglect can lead to poor mental health and increased risk for substance use disorders. 



Contributing Factor to Health: Availability of quality childcare is an issue which has economic, social, and health impacts. Research suggests that childcare significantly influences participation in the labor force, which has an impact on other issues, such as food security and housing stability in the short-term. Economist Betsey Stevenson also noted the issue of childcare “This puts families on just a completely different trajectory that’s not about losing two or three years of income; it’s about being on a lower earnings trajectory for the rest of your life.” 


Commitment to an Equity Lens: The Community Partner Assessment asked about the various ways that equity is centered within organizations, including equity teams, specific staff positions, how they gather and analyze information about the community, and communication strategies. 

Contributing Factor to Health: Health for all is the mission of Lawrence Douglas County Public Health, which is only possible with collaboration from key community partner organizations. Organizational equity practices were identified as a structural and systems issue to address in Douglas County. To improve health outcomes for populations who experience disparities, it is essential to understand the communities served by local organizations. 


Supporting Community Collaboration: A systemic issue identified by the Community Partner Assessment was to increase the capacity to support collaboration with the community on engagement and policy and advocacy. 

Contributing Factor to Health: Strengthening our community organizational capacity to support a collaborative level of engagement, policy, and advocacy can increase opportunities for residents to have a meaningful influence on their community. 


Criminal Justice System 

Contributing Factor to Health: Criminal justice includes interactions with law enforcement and incarceration rates. This issue was identified as a top community priority, and there is local evidence that this systemic issue affects the Black population disproportionately. 

When formerly incarcerated people reenter communities, they suffer from disproportionate rates of mental health issues, suicide, substance use disorders, disabilities, and physical disorders. There can also be complex barriers to accessing healthcare including homelessness, unemployment, and lack of social or family support. It is common for incarcerated individuals to receive inadequate health care before, during, and after incarceration or detention. 


Food Insecurity 

Contributing Factor to Health: Food insecurity is defined by the US Department of Agriculture by the as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.” Food insecurity has a considerable impact on health and well-being. For example, hunger and limited consumption of healthy food has an impact on child development, health, and behavior. For adults, the impact of food insecurity is realized when people must choose between eating well and other costs associated with health, such as healthcare, medicine, housing, and transportation. 


Jobs, Living Wage, & Poverty: Jobs, Living Wage and Poverty were identified as a top community priority, and there is local evidence that the outcomes of these systemic issues affect different populations unequally. 

Contributing Factor to Health: Poverty is considered a social determinant of health, and a primary driver of health inequities. Social factors, such as social economic status, employment, education, and social support, significantly impact health and health outcomes, above and beyond health behavior, health care, and the physical environment. 


Safe & Affordable Housing: Safe and affordable housing is an umbrella issue that covers a range of topics including the cost burden people experience paying for housing, housing instability, houselessness, and unhealthy living conditions. Safe and affordable housing was identified as a community priority, and there is local evidence that it is a large-scale problem that affects different populations unequally. 

Contributing Factor to Health: Housing instability may negatively affect physical health. Housing instability encompasses challenges such as having trouble paying rent, overcrowding, moving frequently, or spending the bulk of household income on housing. Housing instability also includes households which experienced or are at risk of eviction, and those already experiencing homelessness. Due to a limited rental market with few affordable options, those with the lowest incomes may be forced to rent substandard housing, exposing them to health and safety risks. 


Sexually Transmitted Infections: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or sexually transmitted infections, include a wide range of diseases that are generally acquired by sexual contact. Some infections can be passed from mothers to their infants during pregnancy or childbirth, or through blood transfusions or shared needles. 

Contributing Factor to Health: STIs can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, and therefore have a wide range of symptoms, including no symptoms. STIs can go unnoticed until complications occur or a partner is diagnosed, sometimes years after initial infection. Possible complications depend on the disease and its progressive stages, and may include pelvic pain or pelvic inflammatory disease, pregnancy complications, infertility, arthritis, heart disease, and certain cancers, such as HPV-associated cervical and rectal cancers. 


Threats of Physical & Sexual Violence: 

Contributing Factor to Health: Violence occurs in many forms and has a considerable public health impact. The many forms of violence include physical violence, sexual violence, intimate partner or domestic violence, and community violence. In addition, violence can have an impact across the lifespan. In addition to injuries, violence contributes to many poor health outcomes. In particular, different forms of violence are part of a class of events referred to as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Research suggests ACEs have a deleterious effect on health and well-being and influence all aspects of children’s development.