Michelle Ross, LCHD Community Health Program Director, said the last time such an assessment was completed, four areas of focus developed.
- Obesity Rates (reduction/prevention)
- Prevention of Injuries (intentional/non-intentional)
- Reduce Addictive Behaviors (alcohol/gambling/smoking)
- Increase Access to Health Care (mental health/dentists)
Ross said the new assessment will result from state and federal data and from the results of a local survey. It is available on the websites for each organization. It asks people to describe their own health and to identify positives/negatives in services within Lee County.
Seeking a Greater Diversity of Thoughts
Ross said the goal is for a solid cross-section of the county to fill out the survey. She said at this point, though, most of the responses have come from married people and those with middle-to-upper tier incomes.
"We really want a fair representation of all of the populations in our communities in Lee County," said Ross. "Different ages, different economic levels, all types of different family structures, race and ethnicity. We do really want to get the communities' perspectives on the health needs in this area."
Ross said the health department and the hospitals are not waiting around for that to happen.
"We have a student intern who has been trying to help with that," said Ross. "Getting some more youth to fill out the survey. We are also going to long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, and congregate meal sites to get the different age groups."
The online survey will be available until September 15. Ross said organizers will meet about a week later in Donnellson to start the process of narrowing down the areas of focus for the assessment.
"(We will) look at what we can feasibly work on as a community," said Ross. "There might be some issues that surface that we can't feasibly work on. In Lee County, poverty always seems to be an issue, but that is a hard priority to address in a health needs program."