Delco is performing its first community health evaluation 2023
First-ever Delaware County Health Department community health evaluation. Delco’s communities’ health needs and inequities are identified.
The agency, which is still young, intends to utilize the data to guide future public health initiatives, decisions, and grant submissions to ensure they are hitting high-priority county regions.
“The community health assessment is a vital tool for hearing county voices. As a new department, our director often stresses, “If everything is a priority, nothing is.” “So we need to really focus our resources on what’s most important—and that’s the beauty of doing this survey work,” said Lora Werner, the department’s deputy director.
Health authorities encourage everyone to take the private survey online or on paper.
Data is crucial. “It’s systematically reviewed and collected to quantify the magnitude of various health conditions, as well as social and environmental factors that contribute to a community’s health,” said Breeanne Agett, a health department project management specialist.
Agett said the study covers health problems, socioeconomic factors, and public health resources.
The health department will benefit from some more pointed questions: “Questions about vaccinations and access and how we can meet your needs better, questions about asthma and air pollution and the environment, what people care about, what they’re concerned about, and how we can work with the community to address those needs,” Agett said.
The questionnaire is open until June 30.
“We put a lot of time and attention into making sure that these questions are simple, easy to understand, and available in multiple languages so they can be accessed by everybody in our community,” said county health department data analyst Mary Craighead.
The department received almost 1,000 answers by May 23, 38% of its baseline objective. Werner said the agency aspires to exceed survey completions.
The health agency wants to hear from 18-to-24-year-olds, men, low-income residents, and individuals of color.
“Ultimately, we’re hoping for a demographic sample that’s representative of the Delaware County population, and we’re tracking that over time and adjusting our efforts and outreach to try to hear more from those who are underrepresented in our community health survey,” Agett said.
The department will create a community health improvement plan using survey results, secondary data, and community partner input.
Werner said relationship-building drives the process.
“We want to serve our county, and sometimes people say, ‘Oh, another survey.’ Werner added, “We’re hoping they’ll take this as an opportunity to speak directly to us and make sure we hear them in our work.”