First County-Wide Health Needs Assessment Conducted; Calhoun County Top Health Priorities Identified

April 25, 2013

Calhoun County, Michigan – Three local hospitals that serve the Calhoun County area have come together in a precedent-setting collaboration to assess the major health needs of residents in the county.

Bronson Battle Creek, Oaklawn Hospital, and Southwest Regional Rehabilitation Center have joined forces to conduct the Calhoun County Community Health Needs Assessment.  They are working in conjunction with the Battle Creek Community Foundation, the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, and the Calhoun County Public Health Department.

Several additional partners were invited to be part of this collaborative effort: Community Healthcare Connections, Family Health Center of Battle Creek, Integrated Health Partners, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, and Summit Pointe, forming an 11-member assessment advisory team.

Working with Public Sector Consultants Inc., a public policy research and consulting firm based in Lansing, the community health needs assessment was designed to evaluate the existing healthcare landscape of Calhoun County through interviews, focus groups, primary and secondary data analysis, and other methodologies. The Assessment Advisory Committee spent many hours reviewing data, considering information from focus groups and leadership interviews, and engaging as a team on the selection of the top healthcare needs and the ranking of those needs in Calhoun County.

The study also fulfills the requirement for non-profit hospitals to conduct a community health needs assessment every three years under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“The priority issues are familiar to us all,” said Mark Crawford, vice president of Community Health Services at Bronson Battle Creek. “The specific ranking of health needs is something new and was challenging and difficult work for the assessment partners.”

Identified Health Priorities (in rank order)


  1. Overweight, obesity, including nutrition and physical activity

  2. Access to care

  3. Chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease and hypertension

  4. Mental health

  5. Teen pregnancy

  6. Maternal and infant health and infant mortality

  7. Addiction

  8. Cancer

  9. Oral health

  10. Sexually transmitted infections

“We are seeking to make real and lasting improvements in the health of our county’s residents,” said Ginger Williams, president and chief executive officer of Oaklawn Hospital. “While the time and effort required will be great, we know that collective action will lead to the ultimate success of our efforts.”

"It will be important to identify how best to implement collective efforts and hold ourselves accountable,” said Kevin Arnold, president and chief executive officer of Southwest Regional Rehabilitation Center.

This collaboration holds the promise of increasing progress on issues where multiple parties are involved.  Sustaining collaborations in Calhoun County is possible not only because of established partnerships, but also because efforts like this needs assessment will further strengthen existing relationships and highlight where the major needs lie.

“We invite you to join us as we build on the valuable contributions of partners across the county with a collective effort to move the needle on some of our most pervasive health issues,” said James Rutherford, health officer, Calhoun County Public Health Department.

The complete Calhoun County Community Health Needs Assessment will be available on the website of the Calhoun County Public Health Department at: http://www.calhouncountymi.gov/government/health_department/.

For more information, contact Paulette Porter at (269) 962-2181.