The Office of Local and Regional Health works collaboratively with the Office of Community Health Planning and Engagement , the State Office of Rural Health, and the Office of Health Equity to ensure that local public health has the opportunity to actively participate in community health needs assessments, community health improvement planning, and coalition-based activities that address health disparities and the social determinants of health in their communities. Public health organizations on the local level can mobilize community partners, build coalitions, facilitate partnerships and provide assistance to communities to solve health problems. These partnerships also enhance the capacity of local boards of health to provide the Ten Essential Public Health Services and to achieve national accreditation.
Community health needs assessment and community health improvement planning are important elements of voluntary accreditation of local health departments by the Public Health Accreditation Board and community benefits requirements of non-profit hospitals and HMOs under the Attorney General’s Office. Local boards of health are important contributors to understanding the health needs of their communities and developing policies and other strategies identified in community health improvement plans.
Every community experiences health disparities and health inequities that are most effectively addressed through collaboration among key community stakeholders. Particularly in communities where disparities and inequities and the impact of social determinants of health are well-documented, local public health can play an important role in mobilizing resources to address local needs.
The Community Health Training Institute provides targeted skills development training to individuals and teams towards building healthy communities in Massachusetts. The Institute customizes their in-person trainings and webinars around core competencies and relevant topics including community health improvement planning and health equity. To better serve coalitions across the Commonwealth, MDPH and the Community Health Training Institute have developed a coalition finder to assist community partners with increased access to coalition development and regional collaborations.