Health of Buchanan County

The Buchanan County Public Health Department recently completed a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process, with subsequent Health Improvement Plan (HIP). The CHNA-HIP was approved by the Buchanan County Board of Health in April and will be submitted to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) in July. The Buchanan County CHNA-HIP is a “road map” for the Public Health Department service priorities to increase the health of Buchanan County residents.  

 The CHNA-HIP process looks at the health of Buchanan County residents by reviewing data from numerous sources such as resident surveys, census information and health indicator information. Healthy behaviors along with unhealthy behavior are equally important for this process. Types of information assessed included: 1) social determinants (circumstances where people are born, grow, live and work); 2) health inequity, such as rates of death in relation to poverty; and 3) risk factors for poor health outcomes, such as teen pregnancy, falls, binge drinking, and use of tobacco. Data was placed into a reporting tool supplied by IDPH, analyzed, and health targets determined for a healthier Buchanan County. For the past 20 years, this process has been completed every 5 years by county public health agencies across the state of Iowa to determine the health issues that increase risk of disease, years of life lost, and/or death of their residents. This allows each county public health agency, in conjunction with their community partners, to individualize services targeted toward their residents for healthier outcomes.

 “The Buchanan County Community Health Needs Assessment process solidified many of the health concerns some already realize. A healthy lifestyle is needed to decrease risk of obesity and chronic disease by increasing activity levels, decreasing body weight, and eating more nutritiously. Each of us should remain vigilant at decreasing the spread of transferrable, or communicable disease through vaccinations, good hand washing, and staying home when we are sick. The CHNA-HIP revealed other concerns which were more surprising. The level of bullying and suicidal thoughts reported by our youth through the Iowa Youth Survey is of concern.” commented Tai Burkhart, Deputy Director and Project Coordinator.

The Buchanan County CHNA-HIP can be viewed on the Buchanan County Public Health Department’s website at under the “Programming” section.