The City of Lakewood has partnered with the Healthy Lakewood Foundation, the Three Arches Foundation, and the Center for Community Solutions to complete a Community-focused Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Action Plan. Finalized in January 2023, the collective effort sought to leverage a robust community-based participatory approach that engaged and integrated an appropriate cross-section of residents in all aspects of the assessment and action plan development – along with incorporating academic resources, demographic information, and other appropriate studies on the role of public health and community development. The assessment and action plan are intended to play a critical role in the implementation of health-centered, equitable community programs and initiatives that serve all Lakewood residents.
Over the past few years, Lakewood residents have been impacted by the changing landscape of health and wellness delivery. In 2019, the City convened the Live Well Lakewood Working Group, a small and informal health initiative formed by the Mayor’s Office, as an initial effort towards improving overall health outcomes for the population. The Working Group understood that complex social factors have a profound effect on equity, health, and well-being – with a variety of aspects that go beyond the work of our healthcare systems, requiring engagement from all sectors.
Within the last year, contemporary issues such as the global pandemic and an embattled presidential election cycle have added to foundational issues such as the fight against systemic racism and the worsening impact of climate change – imparting significant stress upon the health and wellness of everyday citizens and challenging the existing structure of our municipal programs and services to consciously move forward in the most appropriate and sustainable fashion.
The need has never been greater for a CHNA – a unique and holistic evaluation of our community’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to the social determinants of health to better understand current conditions, identify gaps and weaknesses, and barriers to equitable wellness. The subsequent and supporting Action Plan leverages the assessment results to develop recommendations towards partnerships, programming, and other initiatives to build a local culture of health action.
Leadership and Advisory Structure
This collective effort was supported by both a Steering Committee and an Advisory Committee – working to ensure the process remained appropriately focused and grounded in a community-based participatory approach.
• The Steering Committee served as the foundational decision-making and oversight body, consisting of nine representatives from the city administration, both foundations, and residents.
• The Advisory Committee served as the primary advisory body to support the development and implementation of the health needs assessment as well as the development and refinement of the action plan. This Committee will consist of 25 advocates, representatives, and stakeholders selected from among residents and key local/regional community, healthcare, faith, and academic-based organizations.
The Center for Community Solutions
Community Solutions is a Northeast Ohio-based nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank that develops solutions to health, social, and economic problems. For 108 years, Community Solutions has worked at the intersection of health, social, and economic factors to serve decision makers in community organizations and government by providing high-quality, reputable analysis, recommendations, and strategic communication to improve the lives of Ohioans. Applying their vast understanding of health, social and economic issues, Community Solutions will work directly with the Steering and Advisory Committees to bring representative voices and shared knowledge to this important effort.