Preparations for the 2013 Community Health Assessment are also underway, officials announced this week at the Scotland County Board of Health meeting.
Surveys for the public will be made available throughout late January, February, and March at the health department, local churches, and at local physicians’ offices. The survey will also be available online at www.scotlandcounty.org/health.
The survey will ask respondents for their opinions on the most pressing health issues in Scotland County. It will ask for demographic information but will be completely anonymous.
“The survey questions concern issues that affect their family and issues that, in their opinion, affect people in their community,” said Kathie Cox, health educator and Healthy Carolinians Coordinator for the health department. “For instance, the biggest health issue of concern in your community could be anything from asthma to mental health, tobacco use, or teen pregnancy - any health issue of concern that people feel impacts their community. There will be other questions specific to the survey responders’ families.”
The survey will also cover emergencies and local residents’ confidence in their ability to deal with disasters.
“Some of the questions that will be asked on the survey will talk about preparedness and response,” Cox said. “A specific question would be what is your main way of getting information from authorities in the event of a large-scale disaster or emergency in our county? A lot of time these questions prompt people to think about real issues: what kind of things of they feel are needed in our community in order for them to be more informed.”
All Scotland County residents are encouraged to submit the survey, as the responses will help determine community health priorities and initiatives for the next four years. The last Community Health Assessment was conducted in 2009.
“The data we get from the Community Health Assessment survey is compiled with statistical data and a data analysis and report is written and from that report,” said Cox. “Our Community Health Assessment team will get together to discuss what priority areas were found through the report and talk about the top five issues that we feel we need to respond to.”
Also this week, the Board of Health approved the annual State of the County Health Report, which will soon be available to the public.
“Every year, every Department of Public Health is responsible for providing the state of the county health report,” said Cox.
The report, Scotland County’s ninth, includes a review of major morbidity and mortality data, recent county demographics, emerging issues that affect public health, and priority health concerns. It has been sent to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services for review and should be approved and made public in the coming weeks.
Also during Tuesday evening’s meeting, several board members were awarded with plaques. Veterinarian member Olivia Guzman, professional engineer member Dave Raley, and registered nurse member Cynthia Morton were recognized for their years of service on the board of health.