Health Sur­vey Of­fered To County Res­i­dents

McDonald County Press - - COUNTY - Me­gan Davis

On an av­er­age day, most of us shoot off dozens — if not hun­dreds — of clicks on our com­puter mouse. What if a hand­ful of clicks and 10 min­utes of your day could help im­prove the fu­ture of McDonald County? Now they can.

The Harry S. Tru­man Co­or­di­nat­ing Coun­cil is col­lab­o­rat­ing with the McDonald County Health Depart­ment to con­duct a Health Needs Sur­vey for the com­mu­nity. The sur­vey is funded through a Com­mu­nity Con­ven­ing Grant that was awarded to six coun­ties in the state by the Mis­souri Foun­da­tion for Health.

This grant fo­cuses on iden­ti­fy­ing press­ing health needs in the com­mu­nity, then work­ing to im­ple­ment poli­cies and pro­grams to cre­ate sus­tain­able changes for health­ier life­styles through­out McDonald County.

The McDonald County Health Needs Sur­vey can be com­pleted at www.htscc. org/sur­veys. Those who sub­mit their sur­vey will be en­tered into a draw­ing for a $25 Wal­mart gift cer­tifi­cate.

Brandy Set­zer has been as­so­ci­ated with the sur­vey for al­most a year — near the pro­gram’s in­cep­tion. She be­came in­volved with the HSTCC through her work at the Health Depart­ment, where she had gar­nered ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with grants.

The sur­vey is the first of its kind for the area, which made com­pil­ing the sur­vey a chal­lenge. Ques­tions were nar­rowed down from a col­lec­tion of other sur­veys.

In an at­tempt to learn about the en­vi­ron­ment and de­mo­graph­ics, the sur­vey in­quires about age, em­ploy­ment, hous­ing, men­tal and phys­i­cal health, health­care, child­care, trans­porta­tion, sub­stance use, life­style and fi­nances, among other things.

“The goal is to iden­tify health needs and dis­par­i­ties. Where there are needs, we aim to find and im­ple­ment poli­cies to help,” Set­zer said. “And data gath­ered from the in-depth, per­sonal sur­vey can be used to tar­get spe­cific grants in the fu­ture.” Ac­cord­ing to KIDSCOUNT data col­lected by the An­nie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, McDonald County has one of the high­est rates of child poverty, teenage preg­nancy and sub­stance abuse, while hav­ing no ac­cred­ited child­care fa­cil­i­ties and only one am­bu­lance provider in the county.

Set­zer noted there is also a need for af­ford­able hous­ing, im­proved trans­porta­tion and avail­able em­ploy­ment within the com­mu­nity.

“Now, we’re wait­ing for the data to iden­tify and pri­or­i­tize the com­mu­nity’s needs. Then the Cen­ter for Health Pol­icy will help link us with poli­cies and grants to ad­dress the is­sues,” Set­zer said. The next chal­lenge will be to im­ple­ment new pro­grams to help rem­edy the over­all health con­cerns.”

Set­zer said close to 250 sur­veys have been sub­mit­ted to date. HSTCC tracks the di­ver­sity of sub­mis­sions and is cur­rently seek­ing ad­di­tional in­put from men and res­i­dents of out­ly­ing com­mu­ni­ties such as Rocky Com­fort and South­west City. Set­zer hopes to re­ceive 500 sur­veys in to­tal, which would give voice to 2 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

McDonald County res­i­dents have un­til Tues­day, Oct. 16, to com­plete the sur­vey and be en­tered into the gift cer­tifi­cate give­away. All sur­vey an­swers will re­main anony­mous.

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