State health plan shows progress in community collaborations

The Division of Public Health (DPH) held its annual stakeholder meeting on October 23 to discuss the progress of the Delaware State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP).

The report sets priorities for how the division and community stakeholders can work together to improve the health of Delaware’s population. This latest update serves as an update on progress made and identifies to what degree that DPH and partners are aligned with the SHIP’s priority areas.

SHIP is used to set goals, direct the use of resources, and develop and implement projects, programs and policies. The SHIP’s four priority areas, identified through a State Health Needs Assessment (SHNA) process, include: chronic disease, maternal and child health, substance use disorder and mental health.

“The Delaware State Health Improvement Plan is more comprehensive than the roles and responsibilities of the health department alone, and depends on the participation of a broad set of community stakeholders and partners,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “These community members have done an outstanding job to improve health by aligning efforts and investments in projects, programs and policies.”

The SHIP process follows a five-year action cycle. The most recent SHIP began in 2015 to 2016, with the needs assessment.

This year’s report showed that the greatest degree of alignment was observed in “making the healthy choice the easy choice,” and the least amount of alignment is occurring around efforts to increase the number of Medicaid dental providers in underserved areas.

In the area of maternal and child health, stakeholder groups are more aligned to promote health education and emphasize healthy parenting in schools than they are around efforts to incorporate graduated levels for health education in schools.

In addressing substance use disorder, stakeholder groups are in strong alignment to reduce substance use disorders overall, and are particularly focused on opioid use disorder.

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