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Building a Healthy Community

The Division of Public Health works to improve the health of the community by addressing the policies, systems and environments that inform health. By addressing policies, systems and environments, Public Health staff works to prevent injury, illness and preventable health conditions.

Public Health plays a critical role in creating a solid infrastructure for our community's healthcare system. A healthy community is more than merely an absence of disease; a healthy community includes those elements that enable people to maintain a high quality of life and productivity. A healthy community has adequate services to meet the needs of people and provides a safe, healthy environment for children to grow up and thrive. Public Health's role and responsibility is to preserve the safety and promote prevention of disease in our community.

What does a healthy community look like to you?

In 2015, the City of Worcester Division of Public Health as the lead agency of the Central MA Regional Public Health Alliance, in partnership with UMass Memorial and Fallon Health, sought to answer this question and others about the health status of the communities of Greater Worcester through a Community Health Assessment (CHA). 

Using the information that was gathered in the CHA, including the input of over 1,500 individuals who live, work, learn, or play in the Greater Worcester region, a process began to create this Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). A CHIP is used as roadmap for health improvement over a 3-5 year period and guides the investment of resources of not only the health department, hospitals, and health plans, but of any and all organizations that have a stake in improving health for the residents of Worcester and the surrounding communities.

CHIP VISION

Worcester will be the healthiest city and CMRPHA the healthiest region in New England by 2020. #Healthy2020

One Goal: Health Equity

Community members who participated in the CHA and partners alike agree that every member of the community deserves the opportunity to be healthy. To that end, health equity is not one goal among many, it is the goal.

Three Girls Running on a Street

Three Core Principles:

  • Invest first in the community
  • Empower, listen to, and respect community
  • Eliminate gaps between services

9 Priority Areas:

  • Racism & Discrimination
  • Substance Use
  • Access to Care
  • Mental Health
  • Economic Opportunity
  • Cultural Responsiveness
  • Access to Healthy Food
  • Physical Activity
  • Safety

The CHIP is intended to be a living document, with adjustments and course corrections being made on an annual basis to maximize impact and success of implemented initiatives. The Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester, in partnership with the Worcester Division of Public Health, holds the responsibility for ensuring implementation of this Plan, though success will not be achieved without the commitment of hundreds of organizations and decision-makers. The objectives of this CHIP are intended to provide a framework for health improvement through 2020, providing a roadmap to becoming the healthiest city and region in New England by 2020.

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