Community Health Assessment

The 2018 Community Health Assessment (CHA) is a comprehensive look at the health of Whatcom County residents. It measures health and well-being across a range of indicators that answer two big questions: “How healthy are we?” and “What is our community’s ability to respond to our most pressing public health concerns?” This information allows the health department, together with community partners, to focus and coordinate community resources to address important public health issues that no single organization can address alone.

Read the full 2018 Community Health Assessment here.

Learn more about Community Descriptions, shorter health assessments for each of the communities within Whatcom County.

Key Findings

Overall, Whatcom County continues to be a community that’s generally healthy. But the good health we’re known for isn’t shared equally by everyone. One of the key findings of the Community Health Assessment is that unfair differences in health and well-being persist. Indicators of health are worse across multiple data points for youth who are English Language Learners and for youth and adults who are low-income, experiencing homelessness, or people of color. Qualitative data also shows that community members experience these disparities in their everyday lives.

Learn more about the other key findings of the CHA.

How We Measure Health

The CHA is comprised of four assessments. Two of these assessments, the Community Health Status Assessment and the Community Themes and Strength Assessment describe how healthy our community is. 

Being healthy isn’t just about outcomes like how long we live, or which health conditions we do or do not have. Those are important indicators of health, but they don’t tell the whole story. The CHA includes data about underlying factors that influence health: jobs, housing, finances, the physical environment we live in, our personal health behaviors, and access to quality health care. It also includes indicators of health outcomes, such as leading causes of death, life expectancy, and rates of illness.

The other two assessments, the Forces of Change Assessment and the Local Public Health System Assessment, tell us about our community capacity to address health issues and external factors that influence public health work.

What Goes Into Health Graphic

The population health framework explains what factors contribute to how healthy we are. Click on the image for a larger version.

Describes the four assessments that make up the CHA