The Delaware Division of Public Health is seeking input from Delawareans on a draft version of a statewide assessment identifying the primary health needs of First State residents.

DPH worked with a broad range of nonprofit and medical partners, and community-based and government agencies to create the draft Statewide Health Assessment document.

The SHA is an examination of the health of Delaware’s population. Data gathering for a needs assessment to develop this document began in 2016. The data, pulled from various sources including focus groups, were used to identify local and statewide trends for the identification and prioritization of strategies. The goal of a SHA is to develop strategies to address critical health needs and identify challenges and assets in the state in a comprehensive way.

All results were compiled and analyzed collectively to paint a collective picture of Delaware’s health. This comprehensive process yielded the following four top-level priority areas of focus: chronic disease, specifically heart disease, diabetes and asthma; maternal and child health, specifically teen pregnancy, premature births and low birth weight; substance use/misuse, specifically the opioid epidemic, accidental overdose and smoking/e-cigarette use; and mental health, specifically mental health diagnoses (especially in youth), suicide/suicidal ideations and impact of trauma.

The plan is posted at bit.ly/2z62mbm. Comments can be submitted at bit.ly/2IKW3JK. The deadline for submissions is July 31.

Residents are encouraged to provide feedback about the information presented in the draft SHA. After receiving public comments, DPH will organize partners again to develop strategies and goals to address Delaware’s major health needs.

“It’s important to hear from residents about our draft plan for the health and well-being of Delawareans,” said DPH Associate Deputy Director Cassandra Codes-Johnson. “We want to know what’s important to you. All residents should have the opportunity to provide input on the issues that are closest to their hearts.”