On track to become the healthiest community When it comes to addressing and improving the health care needs of the community, our area is well-known for its coalition building, collaboration, volunteerism, and innovative programs that have become successful and sustainable models for other regions.
“Health is a state of well-being and the capability to function in the face of changing circumstances…Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities.” —Institute of Medicine
Cheshire County is known for its social capital, history of community involvement and close working relationships among local partners to improve the health of its residents. The NH Charitable Foundation, in its 2006 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, reported that “Cheshire County’s social capital was higher than the state average.” Community partners in health improvement, social services and higher education have been intimately involved in working to improve community health and to help Keene and the surrounding towns develop healthier environments.
Vision 2020 is community-wide effort to ensure that we live in the nation’s healthiest community by the year 2020. Becoming the healthiest community requires strong sense of commitment, collaboration and support among a wide range of community partners. Our schools, colleges, healthcare providers, faith-based organizations, employers, government agencies, cultural centers, restaurants, and recreational facilities, in addition to the natural and built environments, all influence our community’s overall health and well-being.
Antioch New England Institute is delighted to serve as the evaluation and assessment partner working with Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, in this exciting and challenging community health initiative. Ensuring that we live in the healthiest community requires a clear understanding of where we are today and where we want to be in the future in terms of our health goals and outcomes.
ANEI will help the community identify, define, measure, and evaluate national measures as well as its own unique indicators of health in five key areas: Health Status, Health Care Access, Health Literacy, Wellness, and Social Capital. Along with tracking and reporting on these quantitative measures, ANEI will also assist in planning, monitoring and evaluating the overall process the community follows on its path to becoming the nation’s healthiest.
The current health of the Granite State is quite sound. New Hampshire has been continuously ranked in the top ten healthiest states since 1990 by the United Health Foundation; it ranked fourth in 2007 and was ranked the third healthiest state in the nation in 2008. Additionally three New Hampshire communities, including Keene, were ranked the least vulnerable in the nation to economic downturn by Forbes Magazine in 2008. Vision 2020 will build on this solid foundation to ensure long-term health and well-being for all.