CHI St. Joseph's Health publishes community health needs assessment

Mental health, obesity were named among the top 5 areas of need in a recent three-year survey and implementation plan.

CHI St. Joseph's Health in Park Rapids
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A recent community health needs assessment has revealed the Park Rapids area’s top five health-related needs.

Marlee Morrison, community health director with CHI ST. Joseph’s Health, explained the study at Thursday’s ACTION Park Rapids meeting.

“Part of our responsibilities at the hospital is to conduct the community health needs assessment every three years,” said Morris. “Our implementation strategies were just approved by the hospital board this past week.”

The assessment included an online survey in which community members could take part, she said, “basically about your own health and what issues you are facing. And then we conducted a focus group with area providers, and then just aggregated data that we have from the Department and Health and other sources about the health of our community.”

The study identified the top five health needs of the hospital service area, including Hubbard County and parts of Wadena and Becker counties. The top five areas of need are:


  1. Mental health.
  2. Substance abuse.
  3. A youth or community center.
  4. Economic factors.
  5. Obesity.

Morrison said the youth or community center was included because “there’s nothing that people respond to more on these surveys than the need of the community for a youth or community center.”
Meanwhile, she said, economic factors influence wellness. This encompasses multiple needs including transportation, the cost of healthcare and childcare – “things that are inhibiting people from being able to work,” she said. “A lot of our survey responses indicated that people postponed getting healthcare because of the cost.”

Hubbard County’s obesity rates “are, unfortunately, a little higher than average, and not really moving.”

Morrison said Community Health has programs in place that impact these issues, including the Hubbard in Prevention and ACEsMN coalitions regarding substance abuse and trauma-informed care.

“A lot of our direct programs that we have through the Department of Health are grant funded,” she said, mentioning an evidence-based family home visiting grant, WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program Women with Infants and Children), child and teen checkup outreach, case management for Hubbard County seniors and special needs basic care.

The complete community health needs assessment and the hospital’s implementation strategies are posted at

The first baby born at CHI St. Joseph’s Health in Park Rapids entered the world a week early on New Year’s Day and after a long car ride from Lake of the Woods where his family had gone on a weekend fishing trip.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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