Welcome to Delaware's State Health Improvement Planning (SHIP), where all communities and sectors are invited to get involved and work together toward a healthy and well Delaware.
Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the US and in Delaware. SHIP recommendations are related to system-wide, policy change that address the social determinants of health.
Despite major advances in clinical care, critical threats to maternal, infant, and child health exist in the US and in Delaware specifically. SHIP recommends prioritizing improvements in teen pregnancy, premature births, and low birth weight infants; as well as additional education on maternal and child health topics, reducing the cost of care, and increasing access to preventative services.
The 2017 Delaware State Health Needs Assessment reported that 1 in 10 Delawareans has struggled with a substance abuse issue at some point in their life. SHIP works to reduce tobacco and tobacco-substitute use as well as reduce substance use.
Stakeholders have ranked mental health the fourth for the top five most important public health issues being faced. The 2017 Delaware State Assessment Needs reported that 17% of Delawareans have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. SHIP prioritizes improving access to behavioral and mental health services.
Policy, Systems and Environmental Change (PSE) approaches aim to produce healthier environments and make healthy lifestyle choices more feasible for all members in a community, through PSE changes. SHIP hopes to adopt a PSE approach, promoting health in all policies, incorporating a social marketing approach, and addressing the social determinants of health.
Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. The PSE approach addresses these social determinants.
Health in All Policies is a collaborative approach to improving the health of all people by incorporating health considerations into decision-making across sectors and policy areas. Delaware SHIP considers Health in All Policies as part of the comprehensive approach to improve health and well-being.
Social marketing is an excellent tool for promoting public health activities. Social media can be used to understand and address what people believe and need to know and do to change a specific behavior. Social marketing can be part of a comprehensive approach to prevent disease, improve health, or gain public support for change for the good of individuals or the community.
The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), Division of Public Health (DPH) engages with stakeholders, the community, and partners across the state to assess the health needs of Delawareans and to develop and implement a State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP).
A SHIP is best practice for state health departments and is required for accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).
The Delaware SHIP process has been managed by the University of Delaware Partnership for Healthy Communities (PHC) since 2018. In 2020, PHC launched a SHIP Student Fellowship Program in an effort to further support Delaware stakeholders and the SHIP process while advancing workforce development for Delaware students.
In 2018, DPH published a Delaware State Health Needs Assessment (DSHNA) and Delaware State Health Improvement Plan. The plan outlines priority areas and recommendations for 2018 - 2023. Currently in year three of the five year action cycle, Delaware continues to implement the plan, analyze and address gaps and emerging issues, and refine strategies.
DPH and the UD Partnership for Healthy Communities work to identify and connect with groups and stakeholders across the state working on various priorities and recommendations of the SHIP plan, including emerging areas where additional focus may be needed.
Throughout the year, the SHIP team collects information from stakeholders in the form of studies, reports, meeting minutes and stakeholder-specific community health needs assessments and plans. Through these efforts, along with SHIP stakeholder meetings, webinars, digital communications, SHIP spotlights, relationship-building, outreach and engagement, the SHIP Team works to bring many voices to the helm to guide and direct Delaware's SHIP,
The purpose of a SHIP is to “describe how the health department and the community it serves will work together to improve the health of the population." - The National Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB)