July 24, 2019 – The Quad City Health Initiative was formed in 1999 and is celebrating 20 years of cross-community partnerships to create a healthy community. Nicole Carkner, QCHI Executive Director, spoke about engaging a variety of sectors across organizational and geographic boundaries to improve community health. There are 13 health opportunity areas, such as disease, oral health, tobacco use, and injury/violence. Priorities include nutrition, physical activity and weight, mental health, and access to healthcare. 

Community Health Assessment. Occurring every 3 years and dating back to 2002, a systematic, data-driven assessment of health status, behaviors, and needs is conducted in Muscatine, Scott, and Rock Island Counties to provide a barometer on residents’ health and wellness. The outlook compares the area with the U.S. on a variety of indicators. As an example, 79.9% were identified in the 2018 assessment at overweight (BMI 25+), compared to the U.S. percentage of 67.8%.

A working group of the QCHI, Be Healthy QC is helping to provide opportunities to increase physical activity and healthy eating. Be Healthy QC has supported workplace wellness initiatives, promotion of www.QCTrails.org, the Be Healthy QC educational campaign, and information sharing on access to healthy foods. The QCTrails interactive website has expanded to include trails in Henry County, and trails are being added for Muscatine County.

Quad Cities Behavioral Health Coalition. A group of 50 community partners convened in April 2019 to support community behavioral health in Scott and Rock Island Counties. A primary function of the coalition is to promote awareness and to tell the community story related to behavioral health. Other functions include measuring coalition progress, providing a platform for innovation, and increasing resources. The coalition intends to connect with other existing groups, such as the Quad Cities Trauma Informed Consortium, and be involved with QCHI and United Way.

Other Health Focus Areas. Ms. Carkner noted other QCHI efforts include a partnership with Tobacco-Free QC to address reducing the impact of tobacco in the Quad Cities. Information on tobacco, second-hand smoke, tobacco-free policies, and smoke-free pledges are part of the outreach effort.

In collaboration with St. Ambrose’s Institute for Person-Centered Care, QCHI is a partner along with area health systems as the Institute provides for continuing education and support and leadership to foster person-centered models of care. Lastly, she noted a partnership with Live Lead Free QC initiative to raise awareness and reduce lead-based paint in area housing.

For more information on QCHI, go to:  https://www.qchealthinitiative.org/qchi/

or visit them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/quadcityhealthinitiative.