MONROE — The Union County Health Department is looking to find out what residents think impacts their health.
Be it water supply, access to fitness amenities, screenings and other health programs, the health department wants to hear from you.
Jackie Morgan, health promotions director for the health department, is in the middle of conducting the county’s second Community Health Assessment and she’s looking for input.
The health department did its first community health assessment in 2008 as part of a state mandate requiring each county to conduct a health assessment every four years, and smaller State of the County Health Reports every year.
This year, the health department is partnering with CMC Union, because the hospital also has to do a community assessment every three years to maintain its nonprofit hospital status.
There are several requirements for the assessment including surveys, focus groups and a community meeting once all of the data has been assembled.
While the focus groups have been done, the health department still needs residents to fill out the surveys.
The state requires the data collected reflect the diverse demographics of the county, so Morgan has broken up the surveys by age group. There is a survey for teenagers age 13 to 18, adults age 19 to 54 and seniors, ages 55 plus.
“I’m trying to get 1,000 surveys from each age group, but that can be difficult,” Morgan said.
The reason a diverse response is necessary is so the department can create programs and priorities from the data collected to better meet the needs of the community.
Following the 2008 assessment, three of the biggest issues residents had were water sources, Cancer and diabetes.
As a result, the health department has partnered with Duke University to conduct a water study on the area’s well water, applied for and received a Susan G. Komen grant to help fund mammograms for uninsured and underinsured residents and started a self management program for individuals who are pre-diabetic or have already been diagnosed, so they can better manage their conditions.
She explained the community meeting helps set those priorities.
“We can’t do them all, but it helps give us a direction to go in and helps create new programs,” Morgan said.
The other component of the health assessment is state gathered statistics on the county.
“We look at those numbers to see how they correlate with what residents think is happening and what’s actually happening and find a tie-in,” she explained.
For anyone who wants to help with the community health assessment, surveys can be found on the health department’s website, www.co.union.nc.us/HumanServices/HealthDepartment.aspx. And while on the website, residents can also see the 2008 survey and the State of the County Health Reports from previous years.
“This is an opportunity to let us know what’s impacting your health and drive programming,” Morgan said.