LAURINBURG — The health of the Scotland County community will be addressed in two separate events organized by Scotland Health Care System and the Scotland County Department of Health this week.
A meeting of county stakeholders orchestrated by the health department, termed the 2014 Health Summit, will use the 2014 County Health Rankings compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a springboard for discussion of various amenities and deficiencies in the county. In those rankings, which consider communities’ access to health care as well as socioeconomic demographics and physical environment in scoring counties, Scotland placed near the very bottom.
That meeting will be held from 9 a.m. until noon on Wednesday at the Dulin Center on the Scotland Memorial Hospital campus.
“I look at the health rankings as a snapshot and, based on several years of data, since 2010 we’ve fallen in the rankings from 86 to 98 and we’re trying to get a handle on why we’ve fallen that much since 2010,” said David Jenkins, director of the Scotland County Department of Health. “Has that much changed in the community to affect our score as far as the health of our county is concerned?”
Some 50 people — including county commissioners, board of health members and employees of the county, Scotland Health Care System and Scotland County Schools — have been invited to take part in Wednesday’s discussion to identify existing efforts to improve county residents’ health outcomes and find new ways of collaboration.
“Mostly what we’re trying to accomplish here is just to try to get several key stakeholders in the community to come together to discuss the recent health rankings and hopefully come up with some ideas about what’s being done in the community to find overlap or what more can be done in the community to improve these rankings,” Jenkins said.
Despite ranking just inside the top 50 in terms of access to health care and air and water quality, other factors such as low life expectancy and alcohol and drug use resulted in an overall quality of life ranking of 95th statewide.
Though physical inactivity statistics and the number of preventable hospital stays are on the decline, violent crime and child welfare issues are becoming increasingly prevalent.
“It’s not all bad news; there are trends that show we’re improving in some areas even though we’re getting worse in other areas,” said Jenkins. “There are going to be some things that are out of our control, like social and economic factors, but there are areas we can work on to improve, so that’s what we need to decide upon.”
On Thursday, Scotland Health Care System will hold its annual Men’s Health Event in the Dulin Center. Free foot screenings will be provided by the Wound Healing Center and flexibility screenings by Rehabilitation Services beginning at 5 p.m.
Dinner will be served at 6 p.m., with keynote speaker Joe Dittmar sharing his experience as a survivor of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
Four Scotland Health Care System physicians will then present information on their specialty with advice tailored particularly toward men’s health, with emergency center physician Douglas Nederostek speaking on a plan of action in case of an emergency, urologist Timothy Moses on prostate cancer prevention, general surgeon Les Salloum on the surgeon’s role in the operating room, and general surgeon Stephen Lanuti on colorectal cancer prevention.
The $5 fee for the event will be donated to Dittmar for the Chatham County First Responders’ Memorial Fund. Registration will remain open through 3 p.m. on Thursday. For information or to register, call 291-7550.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 17. Follow her on Twitter @emkaylbg.