Submitted by the Shelby County Health Department

Shelby County

Here in Shelby County, we recognize that health outcomes and quality of life are not solely contingent on genetics; how and where we live, work, play, learn, and worship influence both our quality of life and health outcomes. In September 2015, the Shelby County Health Department and several community partners released a blueprint to tackle five strategic health priorities in the county for 2015-2018. This plan, the Shelby County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), is the direct result of a community-wide health assessment and planning process called MAPP (Mobilizing Action through Planning & Partnerships). Access the Shelby County CHIP and the Community Health Assessment here.


Health Photo

Strategic Health Priorities

The five priorities within the CHIP are certainly not the only significant health issues for our county. However, these priorities represent some of the most pressing issues and barriers in Shelby County’s mission to be the healthiest place to live. The five strategic health priorities are as follows:

  1. Addressing Health Disparities & Social Determinants of Health,

  2. Increasing Collaboration, Communication, & Coordination across the Local Public Health System,

  3. Mental Health,

  4. Healthy Lifestyles, and

  5. Violence as a Public Health Issue.

Two of the five priorities are system-related and cross-cutting issues. Because of the significance and magnitude of the two cross-cutting priorities (addressing health disparities & social determinants of health and increasing collaboration, communication, and coordination) each are integrated within the main three priorities.




Health Disparities & Social Determinants of Health

Health Social Determinants

 Health disparities are  differences in health  outcomes  which  negatively affect groups  of people  who have  systematically  experienced  greater  social or economic  obstacles to health.  According  to the World Health  Organization, social  determinants of health are  largely the cause of  health  disparities, and if these gaps  are to be  reduced,  socioeconomic factors must be  addressed.

 Healthy People 2020 defines  social determinants of  health  (SDOH) as “conditions in which  people are  born, live, learn,  work, play, worship, and age  that affect a wide range of  health, functioning,  and  quality-of-life outcomes and risks.”  Some examples of SDOH include access to health care, culture, literacy, poverty, public safety, quality of education, race, and transportation. Communities must tackle social determinants of health since addressing these factors yields the highest community impact and benefit.

Collaboration, Communication, & Coordination

Health Collaboration

Impacting the community on a large scale requires enhancing the great work being accomplished in silos across Shelby County. Connecting these silos both within the traditional healthcare setting and across diverse sectors ultimately will lead to a healthier place to live. Some benefits of effective collaboration include: better use of scarce resources, reduction in duplication of efforts, integration of diverse perspectives, and opportunity for institutional learning.

No one can do it alone! Alignment of our efforts is key to true community health improvement. In order to make the most significant impact, community partners must continue to emphasize communication between organizations, coordination of activities, and collaboration on a larger scale.

Mental Health

Health Mental Health

The scope of Mental Health need in Shelby County encompasses a myriad of mental health issues. However, in order to focus the energy of community partners in this field, depression is the major theme of this strategic health priority. Some reasons for this selection include the pervasive nature of depression in our society, recent media attention on this mental health issue, and the feasibility of making an impact in Shelby County. Depression is considered by the CDC to be an affective disorder and if not properly treated, can grow into a chronic illness. This condition is largely overlooked and misunderstood and often considered a weakness instead of a condition requiring appropriate treatment. Depression is correlated with many adverse health behaviors including tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and sleep disturbance.

Healthy Lifestyles

Health Healthy Lifestyles

Establishing healthy lifestyles and community wellness as a cultural norm in Shelby County is certainly a daunting task and a lofty goal. What does this mean to Shelby County residents? Creating this cultural norm requires that healthy choices are incorporated easily into our lifestyles and that barriers to making healthier choices be significantly decreased no matter where we are. This cultural norm means that every resident is educated, equipped, and encouraged to make the choices that can improve and positively maintain his or her health outcomes.

A cultural norm of healthy lifestyles in Shelby County alludes to safe, affordable access to opportunities for improved Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Chronic Disease Prevention and Management- all of which are focus areas for this strategic health priority.

Violence as a Public Health Issue

Health Violence

A plethora of themes comprise this issue area, such as Child Maltreatment, Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Suicide, and Youth Violence. Due to growing momentum, feasibility of making an impact, and consensus among community partners, Youth Violence Prevention and Youth Safety is the focus area for this strategic health priority. Community partners are particularly interested in the alignment of existing work and planning efforts on youth violence prevention, emphasizing youth safety, and decreasing exposures to violence throughout the lifespan.

The social and physical environment affects youth safety. Not only does the youth’s current environment play a role, the effect of adverse child events throughout a child’s development greatly impacts the behavior, health and well-being of youth. Therefore, the target population is young people from birth to 24 years old with key outcome objectives for youth ages 10 to 24.

Shelby County in Action

For more information about MAPP and how you can be involved with community health improvement in Shelby County, contact the Shelby County Health Department’s community health planners:

Amy Collier | 901-222-9618 |

Angela Moore | 901-222-9620 |

Additional Resources

Shelby County Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative

Healthy Shelby

Shelby County Tobacco Cessation

Mental Health Screenings

Violence as a Public Health Issue

Let's CHANGE Coalition

2014 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Definitions of Social Determinants of Health

2012 World Health Organization: Definitions of Social determinants of Health

Health Department Social Media: