By: Douglas County Sentinel 

Douglas County’s community health coalition, Live Healthy Douglas, has recently partnered with Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) and Kennesaw State University to release the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) for 2017-2021, along with the 2016 Community Health Assessment (CHA).

The 2016 Cobb and Douglas CHA includes data collected between 2011 – 2015, and provides a comprehensive picture of health in our community, including demographics, economics, and key health risks impacting individuals, businesses, and organizations. Typically, this assessment is conducted every five years, making this the second cycle for the district.

Guided by needs identified in the CHA, the Cobb and Douglas Community Health Improvement Plan II (2017-2021) provides Live Healthy Douglas and its partners a 5-year strategic action plan to implement community-based changes to improve long-term health and wellness, monitor progress toward goals, and establish future goals.

Highlights in these reports include:

  • Leading causes of death and health disparities:
  • In Douglas County, lung cancer is the #1 leading cause of death.
  • CHIP strategic health priorities for the next five years:
  • Creating a community that supports healthy lifestyle choices
  • Improving access to health services
  • New areas of focus:
  • Evaluating and addressing needs for mental/behavioral health and chronic disease management services
  • Increasing the health and well-being of our youth.

“The Cobb and Douglas CHA report provides valuable insight into the health status of our communities and the gaps identified by our residents and leaders” said Dr. Jack Kennedy, District Health Director. “Using this information, our agency, our health coalitions, and our partners have put together a CHIP to improve access to quality health services and reduce chronic diseases by creating a community that supports healthier lifestyle choices for all our diverse residents.”

The CHIP also highlights Live Healthy Douglas’ progress in achieving its mission “to create an environment of wellness through community collaboration, advocacy and education.”

Examples of these successes include:

  • A decrease in the number of deaths due to heart disease between 2011-2015, as compared to the previous five-year period;
  • Douglas County School system commitment to Georgia SHAPE, enabling improvement in Cardiovascular Endurance as measured by the Georgia FitnessGram Tests over the past five years;
  •   17 successful Power in Truth youth leadership conferences, which recently received national recognition as a Model Practice from the National Association for County and City Health Officials (NACCHO);
  • Launching of The CarePlace – Douglas County’s first non-profit, volunteer-based primary care center generously supported by Kaiser Permanente, WellStar and CDPH and a team of local Nurse Practitioners;
  • A slight decrease in the number of Emergency Room visits over the past five years;
  • Launching of The Family Health Center’s first school-based Federally Qualified Health Center in Douglas County, now making primary care more affordable and accessible to all students, staff and employees within the Douglas County School System.

During a recent Steering Committee meeting, members reported additional progress towards Live Healthy Douglas mission and goals. These included the inaugural Douglas County Behavioral Health Month, creation of worksite wellness programs, relationship skill building programs for youth, partnerships to address social determinants of health, and a future senior citizen friendly walking trail.

Live Healthy Douglas relies heavily on community engagement and seeks participation from a diverse set of organizations and individuals within the Douglas County Community. If interested in getting involved, please contact the coalition at

The CHA and CHIP reports can be downloaded by visiting the CDPH publications page: