Allegheny County Health Department to begin public health survey | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Allegheny County Health Department to begin public health survey

Jamie Martines
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The Allegheny County Health Department

The Allegheny County Health Department plans to begin surveying residents next week about public health priorities.

Last conducted in 2014, the Community Health Assessment is used to help the health department identify what public health areas need more support.

Access to healthcare services, chronic diseases like obesity and smoking, environmental factors like air and water quality, maternal and child health, as well as mental health and substance use were all identified as top priorities in 2014.

This year, the health department will assess these issues through the lens of health equity — considering how different communities access healthcare and what barriers exist across the county, health department Director Karen Hacker said.

“There’s no question that the eastern side of our county has more challenges with health outcomes compared to the western part,” Hacker said, adding that health indicators in the Mon Valley, along the Allegheny River and in the McKees Rocks area “are not where we would like to see them.”

That means taking a closer look at factors like transportation, she said.

The survey will launch Wednesday, June 26, and will run through October. Residents can participate online at the health department website, at health department clinics and at public libraries. Community groups also will be working with the health department to distribute the survey, Hacker said.

Demographic information will be collected, but surveys are anonymous. Participants will not be asked to provide details related to their personal medical history.

The survey is required by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the entity that awards accreditation to public health departments, Hacker said.

Results from the Community Health Assessment will be followed by focus groups and combined with several other data sources to compile the 2020 Plan for a Healthier Allegheny report, which was last released in 2015.

Those findings are used to secure grants, like one from the Centers for Disease Control focused on food and healthcare access for African Americans that was implemented in October, and to support the department’s work in areas like obesity, climate change, dental access and distribution of naloxone, Hacker said.

About 1,081 residents across 126 zip codes participated in the survey in 2014.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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