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For Immediate Release
June 6, 2017

Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356

DHHS and Partners Identify
2017-2021 Public Health Priorities for Nebraska

Lincoln—Obesity, depression and suicide, health equity, integrated health systems and health care utilization and access were selected as the key public health priorities for the 2017-2021 Nebraska State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP).

“The SHIP is a community-driven plan that encourages both public and private sectors at the state and local levels to collaborate around five priority areas to improve the health and quality of life for all Nebraskans. It’s an opportunity for collective impact by engaging partners to plan for action,” said Dr. Tom Williams, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for the Nebraska Health and Human Services.
The public health priorities are driven by a selection process that includes hundreds of community stakeholders from across Nebraska and data from a state health assessment. The assessment offers a comprehensive overview of health and well-being in Nebraska:
  • Obesity continues to increase at an alarming pace, which in 2014 topped 30 percent of the adult population for the first time within the state. 
    Public health priority – Nebraskans will have decreased rates of obesity.
  • After remaining relatively stable between 2005 and 2009, the suicide death rate in Nebraska increased between 2010 and 2014 to a rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people, the highest rate for any year during the past decade. 
    Public health priority – Nebraskans will have a coordinated system of care to address depression and suicide.
  • Some large disparities exist by race, geography, income and gender.
    Public health priority – Nebraskans will experience health equity and decreased health disparities.
  • The need to better integrate Nebraska’s public health system into the ever changing health system was identified by stakeholders.
    Public health priority – Nebraskans will have an integrated health system that values public health as a partner.
  • In the last few years more people are reporting being covered by insurance, but accessing services and utilizing preventive services is still a challenge faced by many.
    Public health priority – Nebraskans will experience improved use and access the healthcare services.

Dr. Brandon Grimm, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice in University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health said, “The SHIP demonstrates the commitment, support, and passion of so many individuals and organizations working toward conditions that ensure all Nebraskan’s can be healthy.  It also provides a road map for the entire state to use and partner to address the health priorities that are most important to our communities. The UNMC COPH is thrilled to be a partner in this journey.”

The SHIP helps empower decision-making around a common agenda, to identify shared measurement, and choose goals and strategies that focus on results. You can track statewide progress on the new SHIP priorities through the performance dashboard -

The power of partnerships resulted in the previous 2013-2016 SHIP accomplishing more than 82 percent of planned activities that help Nebraskans live better and healthier lives, like expanding cancer screening programs and increasing the number of worksite wellness programs across the state.

The Nebraska 2017-2021 State Health Improvement Plan is a collaborative effort between DHHS and the University of Nebraska Medical Center-College of Public Health, Nebraska Hospital Association, Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors, and the Public Health Association of Nebraska. 

Read the new SHIP – and the most recent state health assessment -