The Wellness Neighborhood was established in 2012 to address community health needs by developing a community-based and collaborative system of care to improve population health in the high sierra region.
In 2011 Tahoe Forest Health System conducted it's first Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) which engaged key stakeholders and community members to describe the health of local people, identify use of local health care services, identify community needs and distinguish action needed to address the future delivery of health care in the region. The 2011 CHNA identified 5 goals as health priorities:
- Access to Primary Care
- Ethnic Disparities
- Mental Health
- Substance Abuse
The Wellness Neighborhood was established in 2012 to provide architecture for community health programming that focused on the 5 goals established in 2011 and expanded upon them to include Dental Care and Chronic Disease Management. The 2014 CHNA showed positive health trends as well as a need to continue community and health programming. The 2011 CHNA goals and the 2012 Wellness Neighborhood evolved in 2015 to their current focus:
- Optimizing Health and Primary/Preventive Health
- Substance Abuse
- Mental and Behavioral Health
- Access to Care and Care Coordination
The Wellness Neighborhood builds off the theory that change is most likely to occur when core community organizations and leaders respond to calls to action and align their actions toward common results. This theory, referred to as Collective Impact, involves collaboration between TFHS and community organizations through design and alignment of priority issues, evaluation and tracking of improvements. Partnered organizations have a common agenda, shared measurement systems, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication between partners and the public and perhaps most importantly a backbone of support organizations aligned with community non-profits.