Press release from the Humboldt County Department of Heath and Human Services:

The Community Health Assessment (CHA), a comprehensive overview of the health of the Humboldt County community, was presented at the Board of Supervisors meeting this afternoon.

The Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Public Health report looks at traditional public health measures of illness, mortality, nutrition and physical activity in the community. The CHA also includes data about income, housing status, community safety and access to care, as underlying social determinants of health.

DHHS Public Health Director Michele Stephens characterized the CHA as “the story of our community’s health,” adding that the study, which uses a health equity framework, demonstrates how factors from the beginning of a person’s life impact health outcomes later.

The CHA summarizes data from a variety of sources, offering a snapshot of the community’s health and the factors that influence it. It looks at root causes as determinants of health. Some rates for leading causes of death in Humboldt County are two to three times that of the state. Other poor, rural communities experience health outcomes that are similar to Humboldt’s.

This is the second CHA the Public Health branch has completed since publishing the first in 2013, and Stephens said many community partners provided input and guidance in its development. “The data allows us to make informed decisions, identify common goals and come up with better ideas and strategies to achieve them together.”

Connie Stewart, executive director of the California Center for Rural Policy said, “This Community Health Assessment gives us the data we need to drive changes to help people in Humboldt County live healthier lives. I’m grateful to all those who helped create this document.”

Stephens said some of the data is discouraging, but the drivers of community health are complex and ongoing efforts by agencies and partners from across the county will continue to move the dial. “We believe that by identifying common goals and having effective communication, together we can have more impact and better results,” she said.

To learn more about the Community Health Assessment, visit