About

Background

The Bridge to Health Survey has been an important source of data on the health status of adults in northeastern Minnesota and Douglas County, Wisconsin for more than two decades.  The Survey was first conducted in 1995 and again in 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2020.  The next survey is planned for 2025.

The major impetus for conducting the survey is a lack of local information on key health indicators.   State and national health survey data often are not representative of local areas, especially rural areas. The sample size of statewide surveys is too small to allow for county or community level analysis. The Bridge to Health Survey seeks to fill that gap in local data to provide a more complete picture of the region’s current health status.

Each time the Bridge to Health Survey has been conducted, a standard set of questions has been included which allows for trend analysis across survey years. Many questions are the same as used in state and national surveys or programs (e.g., CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Partnership for local surveys) to allow for comparison to state and national data. New questions are also added to each survey and some questions eliminated to align with the current data needs of community partners.

Topic areas have included:

  • Prevalence of medical and mental health conditions
  • Health-related behavior (obesity, diet, exercise, tobacco and alcohol use)
  • Preventive health screenings
  • Access to physical, dental, and mental health care
  • Social determinants of health

Geographic Area

  • Minnesota: Aitkin County, Carlton County, Cook County, Itasca County, Koochiching County, Lake County, Pine County, Itasca County, St. Louis County, and the city of Duluth.
  • Wisconsin: Douglas County

Utility

The primary purpose of the survey is to provide information that will foster a greater understanding of the health of the region’s adult population and motivate organizations and community groups to address pressing health issues and improve the area’s health status.

Examples of uses of the survey data include:

  • Developing programs and services to address identified health issues
  • Program evaluation, such as developing baseline data in order to measure changes in health status over time
  • Collaborating with other health organizations and community coalitions to address health issues that one organization cannot effectively do alone
  • Using the data to advocate for policy, systems, and environmental change
  • Leveraging local, state, and national funding for programs
  • Community health needs assessment requirements for public health departments and non-profit hospitals

Teamwork

Conducting the Bridge to Health Survey has been a collaborative effort involving organizations across the region representing public health, hospitals, clinics, health systems, health plans, non-profit organizations, government agencies, foundations, and higher education.  Please see the Sponsors page for a current list of financial and supporting sponsors.

To join our team please contact us.