Miami County Launches Community Health Assessment
Hoping to get an accurate pulse on Miami County’s current health needs, the Miami County Health District in collaboration with a number of local organizations has launched an extensive community health assessment.
Key parts of the assessment will include a telephone survey of more than 600 adults across the county along with surveys of students in grades 7-12 countywide.
The Wright State University Center for Urban and Public Affairs has been enlisted to conduct the surveys and coordinate the assessment. Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC), The Troy Foundation, Piqua Health Department and the Miami County YMCA are assisting the Miami County Health District with the $16,000 cost of the project.
A Community Health Assessment Planning Team met at UVMC in January to launch the initiative. More than 50 individuals representing health agencies, schools, government, civic/social services, clergy and other community organizations came together to discuss the scope of the project and begin to identify specific goals and priorities.
“We welcome this opportunity to host this group and begin work on this important initiative,” said Tom Parker, UVMC president and CEO, in opening remarks. “This kind of community-wide collaboration is key to helping all of us identify the most critical needs and work together to channel resources appropriately to the best of our abilities.”
“The survey is designed to tell us what is going on in the community so we can develop programs in response. It will allow us to help address the real needs,” said Chris Cook, assistant county health commissioner. Cook will take the reigns as health commissioner when James Luken retires from that position later this month.
“The last health assessment conducted in our county proved to be a valuable planning tool for all of us, in public health and beyond,” commented James Burkhardt, DO, medical director of the local health district. “We look forward to fresh information as we move forward in our mission to serve the needs of Miami County.”
A top health need identified in Miami County’s last local community health assessment conducted in 2001 was a county dental clinic. A clinic opened its doors in Troy in 2008.
Participants in the current survey will be asked questions about health-related topics such as diet/nutrition, exercise, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, etc. Once survey data is compiled, health and service organizations will meet to discuss problems pointed out by the data and develop a Miami County community health plan, said Deb French, director of nursing for the health district.
“It will boil down to what needs we found and what agencies are best suited to carry out components of the plan,” French said. It also will help encourage cooperation and cut down on program duplication, she said.
Data collected then can be used by the health district and other agencies in their justifications in requests for grants and other funding. It also will help health providers such as UVMC and Health Partners Free Clinic in their planning for health care services.
The telephone survey of adults is running in February and March. The caller ID will show the call coming from Wright State University. Those contacted will be asked to spend about 15 minutes answering survey questions.
“We encourage those who are called to participate in the survey,” stressed Dr. Burkhardt. “And we are extremely appreciative of their cooperation and input.”
For more information on the Community Health Assessment, contact the Miami County Health District at 440-5432 or www.miamicountyhealth.net.
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