Two community forums to help identify local health needs and priorities are planned for Oct. 17 and 18 in Somerset and Kennebec counties. The Somerset County forum is planned for 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Skowhegan High School Cafeteria, 61 Academy Circle, Skowhegan.

The Kennebec County for is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at Thomas College, Spann Commons Summit Room, 180 West River Road, Waterville.

The public meetings represent the important step of presenting data on the health of communities in each Maine county and getting feedback from the public about prioritizing health issues going forward.

The free meetings are sponsored by area health care organizations including MaineGeneral Health and Northern Light Inland Hospital.

The healthcare facilities are part of a statewide collaboration of health systems and hospitals and the state Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called the Community Health Needs Assessment for the purpose of coordinating state and county needs assessments.

This effort provides valuable population health assessment data for a wide variety of organizations across Maine. By doing this together, duplication of efforts is avoided and collaborative partnerships are fostered. The CHNA reports provide up-to-date health information at the state, county, urban and sub-population levels.

To learn more and to sign up for a forum visit