During the week of July 19 a community call to action was held to review and address the findings of the 2015 Logan County Health Risk and Community Needs Assessment.
Dr. Sherri Quinones, research and data analysis, and Ken Slenkovich, assist dean at Kent State College of Public Health, led 70 community partners through an exercise to review county specific data, prioritize identified areas of risk and need and begin to formulate a community plan to address these findings. Individuals present represented numerous health and human services agencies, not-for profit organizations, area businesses, chamber of commerce, county agencies, law enforcement, court system, hospital, health department and concerned citizens.
Substance (specifically opiate and heroin) abuse, mental health issues, overweight/obesity, healthy lifestyle choices, community awareness of resources and specific geographic areas of the community, such as areas of Indian Lake and Bellefontaine, rose to the top as areas of need and risk, much like the 2012 Needs Assessment findings.
Participants discussed what is currently being done to address identified priorities, the accomplishments that have been made since the 2012 assessment, what else can be done, and what steps are needed to strengthen and expand work on these priorities.
“Much work has been done,” said Tammy Allison, chief operating officer Mary Rutan Foundation. “It is important that we celebrate and recognize our accomplishments, such as improved access to health care through the recruitment of several new physicians to the area and receiving federal funding to bring a federally qualified health center (Community Health and Wellness Partners) to Logan County. Through these efforts, over 350 Logan County residents that were not receiving primary care, now have a primary care provider to assist them in managing their health and wellness”, says Ms. Allison
Some of the other accomplishments since 2012 include the expansion of the Opiate Task Force through the creation of the Community (C.O.R.E.) Coalition of Opiate Relief Efforts, whose efforts are addressing opiate and heroin abuse through prevention, education, awareness and treatment. In addition a Transportation Advisory Board was formed to address and improve transportation issues in Logan County. Over the past year, this group up-dated and approved a new county transportation plan.
In the coming weeks, at the conclusion of the public comment period, the 2015 Health Risk and Community Needs Assessment and Summary Report will be finalized and posted on the Logan County Health District and Mary Rutan Hospital websites. A community health improvement plan (CHIP) will be adopted for Logan County and the four action groups of Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Healthy Living and Resource Awareness will finalize priorities and action to address the assessment findings. In addition, numerous organizations and agencies will use the data to set internal priorities, strategic plans and pursue funding opportunities.
For further information, questions or how you can become involved in addressing the areas of need and risk identified, contact Mary Rutan Hospital Community Relations Department at 599-7003.
Submitted by Mary Rutan Hospital.