Healthy Communities Program

Where you live affects your health. Many people in Whatcom County are working to make the places they live healthier. Our Healthy Communities Team works with community members and community groups to identify needs and provide support for community efforts to improve health.


The Healthy Community Team's principles:

  • Partnership-focused: Partner with community members, agencies, and cross-governmental partners to understand needs and assets and work together to improve health and well-being.
  • People-centered: populations and groups who face more obstacles to good health
  • Place-based: All throughout the County with specific neighborhoods and regions with less access to needed resources.
  • Policy- and Systems-oriented: Use data and partnerships to change policies, systems, and environment.


We use the following guiding models and frameworks in our work

  • Healthy Communities Model shows the areas that can be impacted to improve health.
  • PH Framework shows the determinants that impact health.
  • The Phases of Community Health Improvement show the process for health improvement in communities.

This is how we use the Phases of Community Health Improvement model:

  • The Healthy Communities Team uses data to identify health determinant and area priorities. The Team works with community members to choose the priorities that are most important to them. They work together to choose effective policies and programs and evaluate those actions.

Current Focus Areas

Place-Focus: East Whatcom

East Whatcom County (identified by the Mt Baker SD Boundaries): staff are working to build community capacity to improve community health. Some examples include working with community groups to improve walking and biking accessibility and supporting healthy food access initiatives.

Food System: 30,000 Whatcom County residents don't have access to healthy, affordable food. Farmland availability is decreasing. The amount of water used in Whatcom County is unsustainable, which will impact agriculture and fisheries. Staff is working on policy and system solutions to these problems.