People living in Onondaga County can have an impact on some of the programs that could make us - or keep - us healthier. County health officials want to hear about the health conditions important to you … and what’s making you sick or injured, in a survey about the health of our community.
What do you think are the biggest health problems in our community? Conditions such as cancer or other diseases? … afflictions such as obesity or addiction? … maybe tragedies such as accidents or suicide. The Onondaga County Health Department wants to hear from you on an online survey they’re now conducting as a community assessment. Director of Community Health Rebecca Schultz says it’s a chance to influence public health policy.
“It’s really important to have a broad variety of perspectives because there are things on there that might impact an aging population versus a population that might have school-aged children. People are coming at this from a variety of different perspectives and it’s really important that we hear from everyone.”
The survey asks not only what things you might think are the biggest problems, but also any problems people have with access to care, as well as factors that impact health such as drinking and driving, homelessness an abuse. The responses are compared with hospital and other data … and then used to address the biggest concerns, often with community partners.
“We really see ourselves playing a role in what we call the social determinants of health. We want to make sure that our residents have safe and affordable housing. Even though we’re not directly impacting housing, necessarily, we can help facilitate that working through our partnerships because we know how important that is to someone’s health.”
And Schultz says that could expand to include safer roads, a clean environment, lower crime rate and other social and economic factors that have a collateral impact on health. Two and a half years ago survey results were used to develop plans to: address substance abuse in opioid prescribing in emergency rooms; and reduce childhood obesity through school programming. The survey is active now through the end of May.
Here’s a link to the “Health of Our Community” survey.