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Healthy People Portage County

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Healthy People Portage County began in 1999 as a community wide initiative with the goal of establishing an ongoing process for identifying and addressing health needs in Portage County. 

The intent of Healthy People Portage County’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is to foster successful partnerships in order to improve the health of our community.  The Healthy People Portage County Executive Committee, which represents a broad spectrum of Portage County community stakeholders including constituents from education, government, health care, not-for-profit agencies, and coalitions, reviewed county and state health data in relationship to the State of Wisconsin’s health priorities and national health objectives for 2020 and beyond.  The executive committee is behind the scenes at each stage of the CHIP to ensure successful implementation. The mission, vision, and values of Healthy People Portage County are as follows:

Mission: Promoting and working for community health and improvement through access to services and fostering healthier environments.

Vision: Optimal wellbeing through safe and healthy environments in the Portage County community.

Values: Wellbeing, Support, Community, Collaboration.

2019-2023 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)

Healthy People Portage County, in partnership with Portage County Health and Human Services - Division of Public Health, worked to develop and release the 2019-2023 Community Health Improvement Process and Plan (CHIPP).  This plan is the final product of a collaborative effort between government agencies, non-profits, coalition members, health care providers, schools, businesses, and community members.  The CHIPP plan assists in mobilizing organizations, community members, and other stakeholders to work together on improving and preventing health issues in Portage County. 

Health Focus Areas:  (please click on any of the areas below for more information)

Other Ways to Make an Impact

Read the 2019-2023 CHIP and communicate the Health Focus Areas to family, friends, and organizations you’re connected to.

Healthy Weight


  • Encourage family and friends with alcohol/drug related concerns to seek treatment
  • Turn expired or unused prescriptions into Portage County community take-back events
  • Drink responsibly and serve as a positive role model for the children in your life

Mental Health: 

  • Ask your employer or organization to participate in Question, Persuade, and Refer training
  • Reduce stigma about mental illness by learning more at National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • Show support to those who are currently affected by mental illness by not isolating them and asking how you can help

Annual Report

2019 CHIPP Annual Report


December 2019 Newsletter

2017 Local Indicators for Excellence Report  (LIFE)

The Portage County Local Indicators for Excellence (LIFE) Report was published in 2017 to provide an overview of the quality of life in Portage County.  The LIFE Report was guided by a 17 member team of community leaders from local businesses, government, school, public safety, and health institutions.  This collaboration created an encompassing report that found key focus areas in our community.

Follow link for full LIFE Report:

Health and Wellness Indicators

  • Early Prenatal Care
  • Teenage Pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Low Birth Weight Babies
  • Childhood Immunizations
  • Oral Health
  • Unintentional Injuries
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Misuse and Abuse (AODA)
  • Tobacco Use
  • Mental Health
  • Healthy Weight
  • Access to Health Care Services
  • Quality of Health Care Services

2014-2018 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)

This plan was created by bringing key stakeholders in Portage County together to brainstorm health areas to focus on and set goals to improve these priorities. The Community Health Improvement team worked with the Portage County Health and Human Services Department to identify needs at the forefront of community concern.

Health Focus Areas:

  • Reducing Obesity in Portage County through Nutrition and Physical Activity
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA)
  • Mental Health

Achievements from 2014-2018 CHIP:

  • According to County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Portage County’s food environment index has remained stable at 8.2 (0=worst, 10=best)
  • Increased the initiation and duration of breastfeeding for Portage County mothers
  • Supported access to local farmers markets through WIC and eWIC
  • Portage County continued to actively support the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
  • Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training was offered in a community forum and has also been provided in other community settings and workplaces
  • According to Youth Risk Behavioral Survey (YRBS) data, 70.2% of Portage County students report that they have at least one teacher or other adult they can talk to if they have a problem
  • The Portage County AODA Coalition completed a strategic plan and formed action teams
  • Supported county-wide social host ordinance
  • Hosted the Portage County Wake Up Call Community Event
  • Supported education on trauma-informed care and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Worked with the Community Health In Action (CHIA) Project: Strategy Map and Dashboard for AODA
  • Supported drug take-back events, which in April 2017 brought in 35 boxes of prescription drugs, about 1,000 pounds
  • The Wisconsin Wins program conducted tobacco sale compliance checks across Portage County with the assistance of law enforcement, strengthening county relationships

Every citizen of Portage County has a responsibility to improve the community.  The publications featured above are community initiatives, but need the help of individuals to become successful.

To be a part of the Healthy People Portage County Initiative, please contact either Gary Garske, Health Officer, or Elizabeth Beck, Community Health Planner, at the contact information listed below:

Gary Garske

715-345-5745 or

Elizabeth beck

715-345-5702 or