Mower Refreshed: Drive the direction of health efforts

Published 10:21 am Thursday, August 11, 2016

What health needs do you observe in your community? This is a significant question that is currently being asked by two local health organizations who are partnering to discover health needs driven by community input.

Mayo Clinic Health System Albert Lea and Austin (MCHS) and Mower County Community Health are joining resources for a second time on the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) after a successful collaboration in 2013. It was in 2013 that the first CHNA was required by the federal government to be completed by 501(c)(3) hospitals under the Affordable Care Act.

In late 2015, Mower County Community Health sent out a countywide, random survey to discover the top ten health needs identified by those participating. The next step was to create a short survey of those 10 needs and ask a larger segment of the community to simply rate the 10 health concerns as no problem, little problem or big problem.

Email newsletter signup

In 2013, the top three that were identified by community members were obesity, mental health and access to health care. Once the top three were identified, Mower Refreshed leadership along with community partners began to explore who and how the needs were currently being met, what community initiatives were effective/showing promise of positive impact, and what gaps might be present, providing opportunity to develop strategies to address the needs in meaningful ways.

Bottom line, the community members had opportunity to say “these are the needs we see and that matter to us.” As in 2013, we are not looking to engage only community stakeholders in the 2016 assessment, but individuals who live, work, play and learn in Mower County. It’s the effort to connect at this grassroots level that makes the CHNA for MCHS Albert Lea & Austin authentic and reflective of the communities served.

The results of the CHNA are valuable to our community partners as it can validate the work they are doing to positively impact health and wellness, especially when seeking funding for programming related to the top three. The assessment also serves as a pulse point, a venue to keep in touch with what matters to those who live in the area in regards to the wellbeing of our communities and offer through Mower Refreshed teams, an opportunity to be a part of the solution.

Here’s your chance to drive the direction for the next three years and encourage others to do the same.

Visit and click on Survey. The quick community assessment takes approximately one minute but has potential for great impact. Grow Mower good with us as you drive the direction!

Mower Refreshed is the community engagement initiative of Mayo Clinic Health System Albert Lea & Austin that partners with communities in Mower County to engage, equip, and empower folks in creating environments where wellbeing thrives! For more information connect with us at