A community conversation initiative to make public health improvements in Greater Franklin County is set for 6-8 p.m. Thursday, March 17, at Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay.

All residents are urged to attend.

Growing concerns over poverty, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, physical inactivity and poor nutrition, rising cardiovascular diseases, gaps in mental health services, and a range other health indicators will be the focus of a Community Health Needs Assessment, according to a Franklin Community Health Network news release.

A partnership of Maine’s largest health care providers and the state has released its report card on how Maine and its counties are progressing on a host of factors that contribute to overall public health. Nancy Birkhimer, director of public health performance improvement at the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will present key findings of the data at the forum that will provide a snapshot designed to be a conversation starter.

Then the public, and other attendees representing health care organizations, social service agencies, businesses and schools, will break into facilitated smaller groups to contribute ideas, perspectives and come up with plans on what can be done collectively to make public health improvements.

To preview the data prior to the forum, visit http://www.maine.gov.

The process will be administered by staff of Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County and Franklin Community Health Network who have analyzed the data and identified top community health issues, according to the release.

Past CHNA forums have led to improved transportation services, expanded dental and mental health services, domestic violence awareness initiatives, and expanded specialty care partnerships, among others, according to the release.

Childcare, limited transportation and refreshments will be provided. For more information or to RSVP, contact Tracy Harty, HCC senior program director, at 779-2830 or [email protected], or register online at http://events.constantcontact.com.