The MetroWest Health Foundation released the 2023 Community Health Needs Assessment. The report provides updated health and demographic data that can be used to inform the work of local government and community health and social service programs within the 25-MetroWest communities served by the foundation. The report builds on similar assessments done in 2013, 2016, and 2019.
With information gleaned from a community survey of over 1,000 residents, key informant interviews and focus groups, as well as an analysis of key health and demographic data for the region, the 2023 Community Health Needs Assessment identified five specific need areas:
- Mental Health—the need to improve access to outpatient mental health care as the demand for services has increased post-COVID, particularly for children and adolescents.
- Substance Use—the need to address continued high use of vaping products by teens and alcohol and opioid use among adults.
- Built & Natural Environment—the need for greater opportunities for recreation and socialization to combat isolation and loneliness, especially among older adults; and the need to address climate-related changes that further threaten health and social well-being.
- Housing Insecurity and Homelessness—the need to address the high cost of housing which can make it difficult for families and individuals to balance housing, medical, and food expenses, and places more families and individuals at risk of being homeless.
- Food Insecurity—the need to improve access to nutritious foods and information about food-related supports available to low-income individuals and families in the region.
The report notes overarching challenges that impact the health of MetroWest communities including challenges to accessing primary care, chronic disease and illness, and the impact that COVID has had on the overall well-being of residents. The report also examines the health disparities that residents of a certain age, race, or ethnic background face due to structural racism and discrimination that limit health and well-being.
Contact: Kate Baker at 508.879.7625.