New website to promote and measure community health improvement

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Eau Claire County now has a new tool that will help monitor the health and wellness of our community.
It is a new health website that was created as a resource and a one-stop-shop for all the health data in the county.

Eau Claire Healthy Communities Network of Care site has all of the local health data, such as prevalence of disease, like diabetes or cancer, or risk factors like obesity rates.

The site’s goal is to improve the health of people in Eau Claire County, by informing individuals, non-profits, educational institutions and lawmakers about health issues in their own backyard.

“Really, what we're hoping for is a place that we as a community can go to and say what do we see from the data, what can we do about that, and how can we work together to make a difference?” said Eau Claire City County Health Department Director, Lieske Giese.

The website shows data from rates of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, to rates of obesity and number of fast-food restaurants in our area.

UW Extension's Nutrition Education Program is one of many that benefit from the new tool.

“I really love how it compares county data, to state data, to national data; it helps us know where we rank in all of those, so we can compare and look at priorities, which I think is important when you're deciding where to move forward first,” said Wisconsin Nutrition Program Coordinator Nancy Coffey.

Linda Bohacek, a dental hygienist subcontracted by the health department says all the data collected in one spot will help her keep an eye on unhealthy trends, and be proactive about changing them.

“If we see deficit in oral health status, let’s say the children in our community, I can go to other states, other programs nationwide and find out what worked for this community and then apply it here, “explained Bohacek.

And Giese says knowledge is power that can help improve health, habits and even laws.

“We have community groups engaging right now and looking at that data, and moving some ideas forward around priority health issues and that's all captured on the cite as well, for people to say, I want to be involved in this, I want to make a difference here in Eau Claire,” added Giese.

The website has been in the works for nearly two years and is a collaboration between the Eau Claire City County Health Department, Marshfield clinic, Mayo Clinic Health System and the United Way of Greater Chippewa Valley.

The five organizations also received a 200-thousand dollar grant from the Medical College of Wisconsin to improve information and communication about health throughout Eau Claire County.


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