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 is to foster successful partnerships in order to improve the health of our community.  A community assessment team representing a broad spectrum of Portage County community stakeholders including business, education, faith communities, government, health care, not-for-profit agencies, and citizens reviewed county and state health data in relationship to the State of Wisconsin’s health priorities and national health objectives for 2020 and beyond.

Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)


Preparation began in 2014 for new Healthy People Portage County’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and is effective until 2018.  This plan was created by bringing key stakeholders in Portage County together to brainstorm health areas to focus on and goals to improve these focus areas.  Some stakeholders include Ministry St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, United Way of Portage County, and Portage County Health and Human Services.  The Community Health Improvement team worked with Portage County 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

These are the health priorities for Portage County until 2018.  To achieve these goals, we will need community support.  So, how can you help?

Getting Involved

Read 2014-2018 CHIP and communicate the Health Focus Areas to family, friends, and organizations you’re involved in.

Follow guidelines in 2014-2018 CHIPS to improve health in your life.

Reducing Obesity through Nutrition and Physical Activity:  Participate in community events:

  • Farmers Markets, Food Drives at local businesses
  • Achieve the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for exercise, 1 hour per day for adults and 30 minutes per day for children
  • Support breastfeeding

AODA:  Participate in community events

  • Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS)
  • Encourage family and friends with alcohol/drug related issues to seek treatment
  • Turn expired or unused prescriptions into the community turn-in at the Portage County Sheriff’s Office
  • Please drink responsibly

Mental Health:  Participate in your community

  • Ask your employer or organization to participate in Question, Persuade, and Refer training
  • Reduce stigma about mental health by educating yourself on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website
  • Advise family and friends suffering with a mental disorder to seek treatment
  • Support programs that help such as Salvation Army, Family Crisis Center, and Portage County shelters



Reducing Obesity in Portage County through Nutrition and Physical Activity

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:

Portage County Women, Infants, & Children (WIC)

Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Program

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Portage County AODA Coalition

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)

Portage County Treatment Centers

Wisconsin Epidemiological Profile on Alcohol and Other Drug Use

Mental Health

The Burden of Suicide in Wisconsin

Portage County Adult Mental Health Services

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Ministry Behavioral Health Science

Salvation Army Hope Center

Local Indicators for Excellence Report  (LIFE)


The Portage County Local Indicators for Excellence (LIFE) Report was published in 2012 to provide an overview of the quality of life in Portage County.  The LIFE Report was guided by a 19 member team of community leaders from local businesses, government, school, public safety, and health institutions.  All this collaboration created an encompassing report that found key focus areas in our community.

Follow link for full LIFE Report

Summary of LIFE Report

Health and Wellness Indicators

  • Early Pregnancy
  • Teenage Pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Low Birth Weight Babies
  • Childhood Immunizations
  • Oral Health
  • Overweight/Obesity
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Misuse and Abuse
  • Tobacco Use
  • Mental Health
  • Access to Health Care Services
  • Injury/Falls
  • Quality of Health Care Services

Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) 


The Portage County Health and Human Services Department released the Community Health Improvement Plan in 2005 to assess community health and create specific goals to tackle the issues identified.  This plan was based off the state plan, Healthiest Wisconsin 2010:  A Partnership to Improve the Health of the Public.

Health Focuses

  • Use/Abuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Mental Health
  • Obesity and Physical Activity

Achievements from 2005-2010 CHIP

  • Percentage of Portage County adults and adolescents with obesity declined by 5%
  • Portage County Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was developed
  • Implementation of Federal Hunger Free Healthy Kids Act in area schools throughout Portage County
  • Social Norms was implemented in Pacelli and Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH)
  • All bartenders in Portage County have the opportunity to take Responsible Beverage Server Course
  • Community prescription take back events were implemented
  • Question, Persuade, and Refer training was presented to community organizations and institutions
  • All primary care providers screen for depression
  • Four drop-in mental health clinics were supported at key Portage County sites
  • Portage County Alliance for Youth (PCAY) was developed and supported to assist area youth
  • Teen Leadership Program was implemented

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 Gary Garske, Public Health Officer, Portage County Health and Human Services – Division of Public Health, 817 Whiting Avenue, Stevens Point, at 715-345-5745 or