Clinton Health Matters Initiative
The Coachella Valley in southeastern California is part of a region known as the “Inland Empire.” The Coachella Valley is rich in the diversity of its peoples and its breathtaking terrain. The deserts, mountains, the Salton Sea and the immense agricultural space are home to almost 400,000 residents. Coachella’s agricultural communities produce crops ranging from citrus and dates to alfalfa and grapes.
Tourism and agriculture are leading economic drivers, both bring a large number of seasonal residents to the valley for work and play. The Coachella Valley is home to the Humana Challenge and annual Health Matters conference.
The region is best known as the home of Palm Springs chic, golf courses and celebrities. What's less known is the area has a child poverty rate near 70 percent; some of the nation's poorest citizens live here just miles from some of the wealthiest.
Local organization, Hidden Harvest has a mission to provide a living wage for the working poor while putting fresh, healthy food on the table of hungry families. By leveraging the Coachella Valley’s agricultural assets and rescuing unwanted crop yields, they are also able to give seniors who make up the majority of the Valley’s population, much needed access to fresh produce.
Improving food access is just one example of the Coachella Valley’s residents and business coming together to advance solutions.
In December 2012, CHMI held a meeting of community leaders in the Coachella Valley to determine key actions necessary to reduce health disparities in the region. By utilizing the County Health Rankings model, Bold Actions were developed for each of the health factors that contribute to individuals’ health and longevity. The County Health Rankings model provides an ideal structure on which to base CHMI’s work in the Coachella Valley, because it provides a nationally-accepted and evidence-based framework for the contributing factors to morbidity and mortality.
By using the County Health Rankings model and its measurements, CHMI created a baseline data frame from which to work, which led to working with community leaders to develop Bold Actions that address: improving the health behaviors, clinical care issues, local social and economic factors, and the physical environment issues that contribute to health outcomes within the Coachella Valley.
The resulting Blueprint for Action reflects key recommendations made by a diverse array of individuals, including local health and education practitioners, policy makers, hospital and clinic administrators, public health workers, philanthropists, nonprofit organizations and local community leaders, among others.