Northern California’s Mendocino County is joining the national movement to upgrade the quantity and quality of local data available for assessing and improving local health. A broad-based coalition in the county has successfully engaged 20 community partners in funding a web-based tool for this purpose. HealthyMendocino.org, launched in January 2013, is designed to support setting local priorities, planning and evaluating the program, and building community by giving easy access to timely data on 90 indicators of local health and its determinants compiled from a range of state and federal sources. This article, written before the site’s launch by the Chair of the Healthy Mendocino Steering Committee, describes the community of solution that came together to envision, publicize, raise support for, and bring to fruition this new resource. Mendocino is a rural county with limited financial capacity but rich social assets, including a strong collaborative tradition and an infrastructure of dynamic coalitions. This article outlines the anticipated benefits, early lessons, and challenges of the initiative and explains how the organizers leveraged connections with other communities of solution that already are working to improve the quality of life in the area. The article also notes ways in which this local initiative illustrates and aligns with several of the grand challenges outlined in the modern Folsom Report—specifically, challenges 7, 8, 11, 12, and above all 13, which concerns the use of health information technology to enable the flow of knowledge to the community of solution.
Read the article here.