Every ten years, people who live and work in Polk County have the opportunity to participate in the development of a community health plan, Healthy Polk, which guides the use of community resources to support improved health and quality of life for the subsequent decade.
Tremendous progress has been made since the local plan began with the launch of Healthy Polk 2000-when such issues as alcohol, drugs, environmental health, family planning and maternal infant health, food safety, and mental health were tackled. Those inaugural efforts resulted in life-enhancing successes in Polk County. Positive changes continued to be made with Healthy Polk 2010.
During the Healthy Polk 2010 planning process, a number of "Trend Benders" were identified as areas that would impact health and quality of life in Polk County. The community came together to address those issues. Several of the "Trend Benders" led to successful implementation of projects that made a difference in improving lives in Polk County, including:
The latest plan, Healthy Polk 2020, is focused on community involvement. The process took began with 54 community conversations during which 750 people voiced their opinion about what a healthy Polk County might look like. In addition, 1,200 people completed an online survey and 399 people were interviewed over the phone.
From those conversations, a list of more than 900 priorities was developed. The Healthy Polk 2020 Data Team narrowed that list down to 190 measurable priorities. The 274 individuals who registered for the Community Caucus voted the list down to 27. Then, in early 2009, a traditional Iowa caucus took place during which participants chose the final list of 10 priorities.