LAS VEGAS — Completing a broad, sweeping process that began in October 2021, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) released the Southern Nevada Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), which outlines public health priorities for Clark County for the next three to five years years.
The CHIP is a community-wide strategic planning effort aimed at making an impact on community health. It is a collaboration between government agencies, healthcare providers, non-profit organizations and academia. The CHIP addresses public health priorities in four key areas: chronic diseases, access to care, funding and transport:
- chronic disease: Chronic illness is a condition lasting more than a year or more that requires constant medical care, restricted activities of daily living, or both. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, and one in six adults in the country has a chronic disease.
- The CHIP identifies smoking and tobacco use in general as an important factor in several chronic diseases. Tobacco control efforts are recognized as a key mechanism for reducing the burden of chronic diseases in Southern Nevada. In 2021, 15.5% of Nevada adults used tobacco, while the national average is 14.4%, according to the 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). In Clark County, the smoking rate among adults was 14.88% (BRFSS, 2021).
- From 2018 to 2020, the death rate from heart disease was 386 per 100,000 people in Clark County and 319.5 per 100,000 in the United States (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, 2018-2020, alter 35+).
- access to care: A person’s health should not depend on their zip code, economic status, religion or sexual orientation. From 2014 to 2018, the average proportion of people in Clark County without health insurance was 12.5%, while the national average was 9.4% (American Community Survey, 2014-2018). Adequate access to health care helps eliminate inequalities and is the first step in creating a more equitable health system for all.
- Transport: Reliable access to transport can help increase employment rates while improving access to health care providers and healthy food. It can also expand access to parks and recreational opportunities for a healthy lifestyle. From 2016 to 2020, the percentage of workers who commuted by public transit in Clark County was 3%, while the national average was 4.6%. (American Community Survey, 2016-2020).
- financing: Only 3% of healthcare spending in the US is spent on disease prevention, and 75% of healthcare costs are related to preventable diseases. In 2021, Nevada public health funding totaled $72 per person. while the national average was $116 per person (America’s Health Rankings, 2021). Increasing public health funding can improve employment rates, address high health and transportation costs, augment limited public resources, and improve educational opportunities.
District Health Officer Dr. Commenting on the CHIP and the value it offers in public health planning for the community, Fermin Leguen said it offers clear, specific and action-oriented goals. “The CHIP is based on solid, evidence-based strategies. It presents realistic timelines for improving public health in southern Nevada.”
The CHIP can be viewed on the Healthy Southern Nevada website at www.healthysouthernnevada.org. To learn more about the CHIP or to get involved, contact [email protected]