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Local Public Health Assessment and Planning

Community Health Assessment

At least every five years, the Benton County Public Health Unit conducts a Community Health Assessment (CHA). The purpose of this assessment is to learn about the health status of the people living in Benton County and identify areas for improvement. The assessment is done in collaboration with citizens, community organizations, health care providers, and policy makers. Collaborators help prioritize health issues in Benton County, then develop action plans to improve health across priority health issues. The CHA is then used to develop a shared Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), which outlines actions participating organizations agree to take to address priority health issues.

Community Health Survey Results 2016

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2016 CentralMNHealthSurvey


Community Health Survey Results 2013

(Rural) (Whole)


Community Health Data 2014
(PDF Document, 86 pages, ~76mb)  

10 Most Important Community Health Issues
(PDF Document)


Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)

A community health improvement plan is a long-term, systematic effort to address public health problems in a community. The plan is based on the results of community health assessment activities, and is part of a community health improvement process.[1] A community health improvement plan is developed through a collaborative process, and defines a vision for the health of the community. In Minnesota, community health improvement plans are developed for the geographic regions covered by community health boards (CHBs). A community health improvement plan is a customary practice of public health and also is a national standard for all public health departments. Since the passage of the Local Public Health Act in 1976, Minnesota CHBs have been required to engage in a community health improvement process, beginning with a community health assessment

Community input and ownership is critical to the development of the statutorily required 5 year Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) for Benton County. This document is a resource for all residents and agencies, whether public, private, or non-profit, in Benton County. It is a comprehensive planning tool to move health forward within the County. If you live or work in Benton County, this is your plan.  Community Health Improvement Plan (PDF Document)


Strategic Plan

Strategic planning is a process for defining and determining an organization’s roles, priorities, and direction over three to five years. A strategic plan sets forth what an organization plans to achieve, how it will achieve it, and how it will know if it has achieved it. This strategic plan provides a guide for making decisions on allocating resources and on taking action to pursue strategies and priorities for Benton County’s Public Health Unit. Strategic Plan Report 2014 (PDF Document)


Quality Improvement Plan

Quality improvement (QI) in public health is the use of a deliberate and defined improvement process like Plan-Do-Study-Act (or PDSA), which is focused on activities that are responsive to community needs and improving population health. It refers to a continuous and ongoing effort to achieve measurable improvements in the efficiency, effectiveness, performance, accountability, outcomes, and other indicators of quality in services or processes which achieve equity and improve the health of the community.[1]

A quality improvement plan is a basic guidance document that describes how a health department will manage, deploy, and review quality. It also serves to inform staff and stakeholders of the direction, timeline, activities, and importance of quality and quality improvement.[2]

[1]Riley WJ, Moran JW, Corso LC, Beitsch LM, Bialek R, & Cofsky A. (2010). Defining quality improvement in public health. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice 16(1), 5-7.

[2]Kane T, Moran J, & Armbruster S. (2011). Developing a health department quality improvement plan. Washington, DC: Public Health

Benton County Public Health Unit will utilize this document as a guide for all quality improvement projects. QI Plan 2014 (PDF Document)


If you have questions, or would like more information, please contact Nicole Ruhoff, Public Health Supervisor by phone at (320)968-5087 or 1-800-530-6254 ext. 5172, or e-mail