The LACHC is the designated health planning body for Los Alamos County. It has been designated as such through the New Mexico Legislature and the Los Alamos County Council. The LACHC works collaboratively with other county offices, collaboratives and networks in its planning activity.
The LACHC’s chief planning document is the Health Profile which is published every three years. The most recent is the 2015 LACHC Los Alamos Community Health Profile. The Health Profile includes a summary and analysis of health indicators, issues and trends along with an analysis of community needs and the health and human service delivery system. It provides recommendations for building and sustaining community health.
Los Alamos has the best ranking of all New Mexico counties for its overall health status, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Project. The county is also very highly rated by the New Mexico Department of Health (NM DOH) in its Community Health Snapshots. The majority of local residents have better than average health status, a reflection of the community’s much higher-than-average education, income and assets, access to health insurance and health care, and healthy living habits. The health status of those with limited access to services and limited resources is not as positive.
Within the overall health picture, a number of areas require attention, further study, and community based efforts toward remediation. They include:
- Health issues affecting older people (including respiratory illnesses, falls and Alzheimer’s) and the need for expanded services
- Problems with access to care for the poor and those with limited incomes (near poor)
- Youth risk behaviors and support for asset-based programs, in partnership with JJAB
- Physical health Issues (low birthweight babies, hepatitis, thyroid cancer)
- Behavioral health issues (including mental health and substance abuse)
- Intentional and unintentional injuries
The LACHC has designated three goal areas for its health priorities in its Health Profile, which include:
- Older Adults
- People in Crisis and Financial Need
- Youth and Families at Risk
To develop and implement strategies and support coordinated activity in each of these priority areas, the LACHC has developed an Older Adult Service Network and a Basic Needs Collaborative to address the first two priorities. The Health Council collaborates with the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB) on the third priority area. The Older Adult Service Network involves a number of community agencies involved in building collaborative strategies, including the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization (LARSO), Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service, Aspenridge Lodge and Sombrillo Nursing Home, Home Instead, Los Alamos Medical Center, A Nurse in the Family and Los Alamos National Lab. The Basic Needs Collaborative includes Self Help, LA Cares, Los Alamos Family Council, RSVP, First United Methodist Church, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and Los Alamos County. The LACHC works with JJAB on the youth goal area.
The LACHC was asked for recommendations about service priorities by the County Council in 2011, and the Health Council provided recommendations for priorities and funding in February, 2012 for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years. Recommendations included increases in funding for case management for older adults, people in crisis and financial need and youth and families at risk; for more funding for basic needs services to address sharp increases in service requests; for a county social services manager. The Council adopted many of these recommendations and allocated funding, which is currently on hold due to current fiscal challenges.
The LACHC has been strongly involved in local community outreach through Town Hall Meetings, the Health Fair, radio interviews and articles. The Health Council has been actively promoting support for Health Councils at local and state levels, and working with the state Health Council network to rebuild state level funding for Health Councils.
More information about the LACHC and its work can be found on its web page:www.lachc.net.
The LACHC meets the first Thursday of each month from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m., in the Los Alamos County Municipal Building, Room 330 on the third floor.