CHIP: The Roadmap to a Healthier Tomorrow
Posted on 12/21/2023

2023 Benton and Franklin County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP): The Roadmap to a Healthier Tomorrow

Ever wondered why some communities thrive while others face more challenges? It's not just luck; it's about the things that surround us every day – where we live, work, and play. Think of it like the secret ingredients that make our community's health tick. BFHD cares about the vitality of this community and our staff and community partners work every day to advance efforts to improve the health and well-being of all residents in our bi-county region.  
Join us on a journey where we dig into the details of how BFHD works to make our community healthier using the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). 

In June of 2023, BFHD published the latest version of the CHIP. This is a large plan that will be carried out over three years. The goal is to make sure people in our community are healthier. We're doing this with the help of people who live here, community leaders, businesses, and organizations that care about public health. We have been taking a close look at our community, finding the most important problems, making plans to address them, and now we are evaluating to see if those plans are effective. 

This blog will introduce you to two of the tools we use to accomplish this:

  1. The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA)
  2. The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)


  1. Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA)

    The CHNA is a process where community members and partners collect information about the community to figure out community needs and assets throughout Benton and Franklin counties. The information gathered during this phase is prioritized and then builds the foundation for the CHIP. Afterall, if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. The CHNA allows us to direct our focus and efforts toward the most pressing issues in our community.

  2. Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)

The CHIP outlines what our community can do to tackle the problems identified during the CHNA. Think of the CHIP as a roadmap to improve the health of Benton and Franklin County residents. The CHIP is a resource that our community can use to identify local health issues, set priorities, leverage resources, and coordinate efforts. 

Four priority areas form the foundation of the 2023 CHIP: 

  • Housing and Homelessness 
  • Behavioral Health 
  • Access to Health 
  • Community Partnership Development. 
CHIP Priorty 

Principles of the Community Health Improvement Process: 

A cornerstone of the CHNA and CHIP is that they are both developed in collaboration with many community partners, healthcare providers, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and most importantly, the voice of actual community members. 

This process is driven by the community, for the community.

Community engagement and involvement are essential throughout both processes to foster a sense of shared responsibility, leverage local knowledge to make plans that really fit our community and ultimately provide us a guide rooted in equity and inclusion.

The Purpose of the CHIP:

As mentioned, the CHIP is a tool to be used for guiding policy, advocacy, and program planning efforts. The CHIP helps ensure that limited resources are used wisely and effectively by establishing goals, objectives, and strategies to pinpoint where to begin the work.

Neither the CHNA nor the CHIP belong to BFHD, these are both collectively owned and overseen by members of our community. BFHD works to coordinate the process, assists in monitoring progress, and evaluates the effectiveness of efforts. 

Exploring the Priority Areas of the CHIP:

In future blog posts, we will focus on the priority areas identified in the 2023 Benton and Franklin counties CHIP, shedding light on the specific health issues our community faces and the initiatives we, along with our community partners, will undertake to tackle them. Here is a preview of the four priority areas we will be discussing:

Housing and Homelessness: Adequate and affordable housing is fundamental to the well-being of individuals and families. We will examine the impact of housing instability on health, discuss efforts to address homelessness, and explore strategies to improve access to safe and affordable housing options within our community.

Behavioral Health: Mental health challenges and substance misuse profoundly affect individuals and communities alike. We will delve into CHIP strategies aimed at promoting mental health, raising awareness, expanding access to behavioral health services, and reducing stigma surrounding mental health concerns.

Access to Health: Ensuring equitable access to healthcare services is important for the health of individuals and our community but is by no means the only factor influencing health. We will explore barriers to overall optimal health, including non-medical factors such as socioeconomic status, education, housing, and access to healthy food that significantly influence an individual's well-being and health outcomes, and discuss strategies to improve healthcare availability for all residents.

Community Partnership Development: Building strong partnerships within the community is vital for creating lasting health improvements. We will examine how the CHIP seeks to foster collaborative efforts among community organizations, healthcare providers, and local government to develop innovative programs, share resources, and foster a sense of collective responsibility for community well-being.

Stay tuned for our upcoming posts as we dive into detail on the four priority areas of our community CHIP.