Southern Nevada Health District Launches Plan to Improve Community Health – Southern Nevada Health District

LAS VEGAS – Concluding a wide-ranging, comprehensive process that began in October 2021, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) released the Southern Nevada Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), which addresses public health priorities for Clark County for the next three to five years.

CHIP is a community-wide strategic planning effort aimed at making an impact on community health. It is a collaboration between government agencies, health care providers, non-profit organizations and academia. CHIP addresses public health priorities in four key areas: chronic disease, access to care, financing, and transportation:

  • Chronic disease: A chronic illness is a condition that lasts more than a year or more and requires continuous medical care, limited daily activities, or both. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the US, and one in six adults in the nation has a chronic disease.
    • CHIP identifies smoking and tobacco use in general as an important factor in multiple chronic diseases. Tobacco control efforts are seen as a key mechanism for reducing the burden of chronic disease in Southern Nevada. In 2021, 15.5% of Nevada adults used tobacco, compared to the national average of 14.4%, according to the 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). In Clark County, the adult smoking rate was 14.88% (BRFSS, 2021).
    • From 2018-2020, the death rate from heart disease was 386 per 100,000 population in Clark County and 319.5 per 100,000 in the United States (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Heart Disease Prevention and stroke, 2018-2020 aged 35+).
  • Access to care: A person’s health should not depend on their zip code, economic status, religion or sexual orientation. From 2014-2018, the average percentage of Clark County people without health insurance was 12.5%, while the national average was 9.4% (American Community Survey, 2014-2018). Having adequate access to care helps address disparities and is the first step toward creating a more equitable health care system for all.
  • Transportation: Reliable access to transportation can help increase employment while improving access to health care providers and healthy foods. It can also expand access to parks and recreation for healthy lifestyles. From 2016-2020, the percentage of workers taking public transit in Clark County was 3%, while the national average was 4.6%. (American Community Survey, 2016-2020).
  • Financing: Only 3% of US healthcare dollars are spent on disease prevention and 75% of healthcare spending is related to preventable conditions. In 2021, Nevada’s total public health funding was $72 per person; meanwhile, the national average was $116 per person (American Health Rankings, 2021). Increasing public health funding can improve employment rates, address high health care and transportation costs, increase limited public resources, and improve educational opportunities.

District Health Officer Dr. Fermin Leguen commented on CHIP and the value it provides to community public health planning, saying it provides clear, specific and action-oriented goals. “CHIP is based on solid, evidence-based strategies. It presents a realistic timeline for improving public health in Southern Nevada.

The CHIP can be viewed on the Healthy Southern Nevada website at To learn more about CHIP or to get involved, contact [email protected]

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