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Building a Healthy Community - About the Population Health Trust

Data is the foundation of good decisions, but how did we arrive here? The Population Health Trust was created in 2015 to serve as a leadership team that would assess the health of the community and develop a plan to improve health. Appointed by the Skagit County Board of Health, the Trust serves as a Health Advisory Committee which identifies local health priorities and recommendations for improving health.

In partnership with Skagit County Public Health, the Trust is the voice of the community to build capacity that transcends the limitations of existing silos of services. The Trust is leading the community in broadening our view of health, looking at the 'whole' person and the 'whole' community. This is a cultural shift needed to build a comprehensive, coordinated, and effective health system in Skagit County.

In 2015, the Board of Health determined, "there is an urgent need for a coordinated approach with healthcare providers, jurisdictions and advocates of community health to develop a county-wide plan that identifies strategies to meet population health needs." Under advisement of the expert leadership team that makes up the Trust, the Board of Health utilizes these recommendations to strengthen public awareness about wellbeing and to build partnerships that mobilize people to work together toward a healthy and sustainable future. The Board of Health's role is to provide governance and accountability to ensure progress toward achieving our mission of "improved health for ALL."

Our mission is a call to action to shift the status quo, provide hope and inspire action. The Trust was established following five years of community conversations about collective action. Assuring the public has access to this vital data dashboard will create opportunities for others to join in the conversation, take action and improve the health of people in Skagit County.

The work of the Trust follows the Robert Wood Johnson County Health Rankings approach to improving health. The Trust is also guided by a Health Action Framework focused on:

  • Making health a shared value
  • Fostering cross-sector collaboration to improve well-being
  • Creating healthier more equitable communities
  • Strengthening integration of health services and systems

Our Partners

We are very proud of our Population Health Trust partners and continually inspired by their dedication to Skagit County people and their commitment to better health for ALL. Fiscal contributions by Trust organizations make this site possible.

Our Approach

To arrive at this current set of indicators, Trust members in collaboration with the EWU team hosted 8 community focus groups and invited a wide range of partners to review and select the indicators most relevant to Skagit County. Over 150 data stakeholders participated in this open process which has yielded our first community driven data dashboard.

A set of principles informed the votes of our focus groups. We asked participants to consider that their choices of indicators be based on the following criteria:

  • Important to large numbers of the community
  • Based on valid measurements, as defined by good science
  • Understandable to the general public
  • Defined to allow comparisons to Washington State, the U.S. or those in similar sized communities
  • Available repeatedly over time to allow trend analysis
  • Easily accessible
  • Sourced from credible sites, largely federal, state & local governments

A community indicators project must receive its inspiration, general direction, and ultimately, validity from the citizens themselves. Appropriately, the Skagit County Trends project has convened individuals representing many groups, organizations and businesses for focus groups over the spring and early summer of 2016.

In Memoriam

Terry BelcoeTerry was a Skagit County Health Champion for many years. This data dashboard had been one of his goals, which demonstrates collective action and signifies people are working on common outcomes. This was Terry's passion. Terry would suggest we study the data and start taking action. We dedicate the launch of this website to our dear friend, Terry Belcoe.
April 19, 1956 to September 23, 2016.

The role of Eastern Washington University

Website development and maintenance comes from Eastern Washington University's (EWU) Institute (Institute) for Public Policy and Economic Analysis. The Institute is a multi-college unit conducting applied analysis at EWU. Institute, staff and students, gathered the data, wrote the explanations, conducted statistical tests & designed this site. The Institute has created several similar indicator websites, including those for Grant County, Chelan and Douglas Counties, Benton and Franklin Counties, and Spokane County, among others. Links to other sites can be found on the Other Sites page in this site.

The Institute's Director is Dr. Patrick Jones. Kelley Cullen is the Institute's data analyst. Many students have helped develop and maintain both data and verbal content. Student research interns who were instrumental in creating this project were: Bryan Lockwald, Holly Miller and Emily Wavra. Meredith Hale was the student design intern for this project. Kandyce Moore is the Institute's web developer.

As you explore this site, we encourage your feedback to help continue to improve this community resource.