The Community Health Improvement Process for Montgomery County, Maryland
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Healthy Montgomery Priority-Setting Process

The Montgomery County Community Health Improvement Process launched in June 2009 with a comprehensive scan of all existing and past planning processes. Past assessment, planning, and evaluation processes were compiled that related to health and well-being focus and social determinants of health across a multitude of sectors, populations, and communities within Montgomery County. By 2010, the focus was on establishing a core set of indicators that could be examined through a comprehensive needs assessment that resulted in approximately 100 indicators being released at the launch of the Healthy Montgomery website on February 2011.
During 2011, this information was compiled into the Healthy Montgomery Needs Assessment, which was sent to the Healthy MontgomerySteering Committee (HMSC) in September 2011. The draft Executive Summary of the Healthy Montgomery Needs Assessment can be found below in Local Reports.
In October 2011, the HMSC held a half-day retreat to choose the strategic priority areas for improvement activities. The priority setting process utilized an online survey tool that the Steering Committee members completed prior to the retreat to enable them to independently evaluate potential priority areas by five criteria:
  1. How many people in Montgomery County are affected by this issue?
  2. How serious is this issue?
  3. What is the level of public concern/awareness about this issue?
  4. Does this issue contribute directly or indirectly to premature death?
  5. Are there inequities associated with this issue? (Health inequities are differences in health status, morbidity, and mortality rates across populations that are systemic, avoidable, unfair, and unjust.)
The survey results were compiled for each member and for the entire HMSC. The results were ranked and provided at the retreat to initiate the group process. Through multi-voting and consensus discussion, the Steering Committee narrowed the top-ranked priority areas to be the following:
  • Behavioral Health;
  • Cancers;
  • Cardiovascular Health;
  • Diabetes;
  • Maternal and Infant Health; and
  • Obesity
In addition to selecting the six broad priorities for action, the HMSC selected three overarching themes (lenses) that Healthy Montgomeryshould address in the health and well-being action plans for each of the six priority areas.

The themes are:

  • Lack of access;
  • Health inequities; and
  • Unhealthy behaviors.