A state investment in local public health
Health First Indiana transforms public health through a state and local partnership to deliver services at the county level.
Senate Enrolled Act 4, legislation passed by the 2023 Indiana General Assembly, provides Health First funding starting in 2024 so counties can determine the health needs of their communities and implement evidence-based programs focused on prevention.
Counties decide whether to opt-in to the new funding and to provide the core public health services, including trauma and injury prevention, chronic disease prevention, maternal and child health and more.
The goal is to ensure that every Hoosier has access to the core public health services that allow them to achieve their optimal health and well-being. Good health is the foundation of our ability to thrive, from schools to the economy.
Around the State
Indiana has 95 local health departments across the state focused on improving Hoosier health and safety.
Here are a few ways public health is working to meet the needs of their communities:
This summer the Noble County Health Department held a bike safety event for kids in Kendallville. Children who came to the event received a goodie bag with healthy snacks and information about area agencies, a free bike helmet fitted by a certified specialist, and a short bike safety lesson.
It was a beautiful evening for a bike ride and a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with so many of our community partners to provide safety and prevention activity for our community. The event was a collaboration with Parkview Health Systems, The Cole Center Family YMCA, Activate Noble County and Noble Trails.
The Elkhart County Health Department provided free vaccinations, health screenings, and other resources at NIHHC’s back-to-school health fair Aug. 11, at a local school. More than 400 people attended the community health fair. All health care services and resources were offered free with no appointment or doctor’s referral necessary. More than 330 total vaccinations were administered; 70% were for children, and 30% for adults. Health screenings included cholesterol, glucose, A1C screenings, blood pressure, BMI, and waist circumference. Over 170 people received health exams.
The event was a partnership with the Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition (NIHHC), in partnership with the Indiana Department of Health, Child Care and Development Fund, Elkhart Community Schools and MDwise.
The Bartholomew County Health Department created a student backpack that shows parents and caregivers how potential risks can be hidden in a student's backpack. There are 19 tobacco products or containers in the demonstration backpack. Many parents and other adults are surprised by how easy it is for children to hide and maintain access to dangerous substances. The backpacks are used during health fairs and presentations to adult audiences. The backpacks alert parents and caregivers to signs and signals that their youth may be using prescription drugs inappropriately.
Several indicators for young adults continue to be a source of concern. Recent data released from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has cited these most recent findings: Frequent marijuana use in 12-17 year olds and young adults (18-25 year olds) appears to be associated with opioid use, heavy alcohol use and depressive disorder.