Healthy Communities Initiative

Funded by Norton King’s Daughters’ Health, the Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI) of Jefferson County focuses on bringing community members together to address the major health needs of the community – making our county a healthier and safer place to live.

2022 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).
Use the link above to view our most recent Community Health Needs Assessment (2022). Questions may be directed to Heather Foy at (812) 801-0175.

What major health needs are addressed by the HCI?

HCI uses the Community Health Needs Assessment to determine the major health needs for the county. The most recent CHNA (October 2022) determined the following to be the top health issues in Jefferson County::

  • Substance Abuse/Addictions
  • Mental Health
  • Tobacco Use
  • Nutrition, Physical Activity and Weight
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease and Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Injury and Violence
  • Access to Healthcare Services

Of these issues, all but Cancer and Access to Healthcare Services are addressed by HCI; Injury and Violence issues are partially addressed by HCI.

How does HCI address these issues?

The Healthy Communities Initiative is governed by a Guiding Team that hires the HCI Coordinator and provides oversight for the overall initiative. The HCI coordinator is responsible for leading teams that make up the HCI and assisting those teams with applicable resources: Healthy Lifestyles Team, Substance Abuse Team, Zero Suicide/Mental Health Team, Adverse Childhood Experiences

Healthy Lifestyles Team

The Healthy Lifestyles Team works to lower our county’s obesity rate, prevalence of chronic disease and tobacco use. The team has hosted multiple events to promote healthy lifestyle choices and community wellness in Jefferson County (Indiana), such as:

Community Health Fairs
Walking Scavenger Hunt 
Healthy Youth Tailgate Party 

The Healthy Lifestyles team also supports efforts of the Jefferson County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Grant through the Indiana State Department of Health. Areas of work include:

  • Tobacco-free worksites, schools and housing;
  • Educating youth about the harmful effects of tobacco use and tobacco marketing practices;
  • Advocating for smoke-free air;
  • Promoting the Indiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW).

If you are interested in participating in tobacco activities in Jefferson County, contact the Tobacco Cessation Coordinator at 812.801.0598. For free assistance with quitting tobacco, call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1.800.784.8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW).

Substance Abuse Team

Substance Abuse remains a top health concern for Jefferson County. The Substance Abuse Team works closely with with the Jefferson County Justice, Treatment and Prevention (JCJTaP) program, which is the county’s local coordinating council (LCC), to reduce and prevent substance abuse.

In connection with the Healthy Lifestyles Team, and with financial support of JCJTap, the Substance Abuse Team has created a Hidden in Plain Sight backpack to show parents, grandparents and adults who work with children, items that youth can readily buy to hide drugs, tobacco, vaping materials and alcohol. While these items can be found in a backpack, these items may also be found in a car or bedroom. The Substance Abuse Team meets to educate the community regarding available resources, the extent of the substance abuse problem in Jefferson County, and to discuss possible solutions to help community partners.

Zero Suicide/Mental Health Team

The suicide rate for Jefferson County surpasses state and local averages, and Jefferson County has been designated a mental health professional shortage area by the State of Indiana. Through the financial support of the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County, the team has developed a Zero Suicide Plan for Jefferson County.

Key components of the Zero Suicide Plan:

  • Training – This includes providing mental health and suicide awareness training for the community, utilizing such tools as Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) and Mental Health First Aid training.
  • Community Awareness / Breaking the Stigma – Raising awareness in the community to discuss mental health issues, including suicide, so that the community understands that mental health wellness is just as important as physical health wellness.
  • Communication / Resource Guide – Promoting the various ways to seek help in and outside the community, including the resource page available on the Clearinghouse website.
  • Reduce Lethal Means – Encouraging people to put gun locks on their weapons (available from KDH and local law enforcement) and to properly dispose of unused medications through free drop-off programs.
  • Coping Skills / Building Resiliency – Helping the community to build resiliency through the use of mindfulness programs, meditation and promotion of “Seize the Awkward” campaign through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
  • Education / Best Demonstrated Practices / Data – Participation in state and national programs such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Mental Health America – Indiana, and the Indiana Suicide Prevention Network.

The team has partnered with Madison Consolidated Schools (MCS) on a Counseling Initiative Grant awarded by the Lilly Endowment. This grant provides additional suicide prevention training for the students and teachers/faculty for all Jefferson County schools and parents/caregivers.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

This new team/program began in 2019 and is a coordinated effort among the other teams. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events occurring before age 18. A landmark study in the 1990’s revealed a significant relationship between the number of ACEs a person experienced and a variety of negative outcomes in adulthood.

Adverse Childhood Experiences might include:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Physical Neglect
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Emotional Neglect
  • Parents – Divorced or Separated
  • Witnessing Domestic Violence
  • Substance Abuse in Household
  • Mental Illness in Household
  • Family Member in Prison

The more ACEs experienced, the greater the risk for negative outcomes. HCI has partnered with the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County to make Jefferson County a trauma-informed community. Graphic provided by the Robert Woods Foundation.

How can I join one of these teams?

Everyone in the community is welcome and encouraged to join one or more of the HCI teams. To learn more about each team, click on the links above or email Heather Foy at

You can be added to an email list by clicking on the “Join My List” on the HCI Facebook page or by contacting Heather Foy. Work completed and planned by various committees is shared via local and social media, as well as a monthly electronic newsletter.

HCI Partners

It would be impossible for HCI to complete its work without the many individuals and organizations that attend meetings, sponsor activities, provide meeting space and work at HCI events.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Indiana Chapter (AFSP)
American Red Cross – Jefferson County Chapter
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson County
City of Madison
Clearinghouse of Jefferson County
Clifty Fall State Park
Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County
Girls, Inc. of Jefferson County
Greater Madison Ministerial Association
Hanover College
Indiana Department of Child Services – Jefferson County
Indiana Suicide Prevention Coalition (ISPC)
Ivy Tech Community College
Jefferson County Community Corrections
Jefferson County Health Department
Jefferson County Transitional Services, Ind. (JCTS) (Ruth Haven)
Jefferson County Treatment, Prevention and Justice (JCJTap)
Jefferson House
Lide White Boys and Girls Club
LifeSpring Health System
Madison Consolidated Schools
Madison Parks Department
Madison Police Department
Madison Women’s Correctional Facility
Norton King’s Daughters’ Health
Oak Heritage Conservancy
OVO Head Start
PFLAG of Hanover of Madison
Purdue Extension – Jefferson County
Safe Passage
Salvation Army
Second Stories
Southwestern Jefferson County Community Schools

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.