Monday, Oct 23, 2017
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Lucas Co. survey a collaborated health effort

Data help officials address concerns

Check your mailboxes — you might be a recipient of the 2017 Lucas County Health Survey.

Healthy Lucas County, a collaboration of area health organizations coordinated by the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, will send out 3,600 adult surveys and 2,400 child/​parent surveys in a triennial effort to collect health-related data on county residents.

Packets should be delivered by the end of the month, said Britney Ward, director of community health improvement for the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio. Inside will be a self-addressed, pre-stamped envelope to return the surveys, which are to be filled out anonymously.

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Jan Ruma, vice president of the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio.

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Questions ask about topics such as barriers to health-care access, use of preventive health screenings, alcohol and tobacco consumption, eating habits, and physical activity. Of the 115 questions, 100 are identical to the last survey conducted in 2014 to consistently track responses over time. But as health trends change, some questions need to be tweaked or updated, she said.

This time around the survey will ask more about topics that reflect the social determinants of health, including food insecurity, access to reliable transportation, and use of social service agencies.

“Of course we want to know if someone has high blood pressure or a heart attack, but housing affects their health too,” Ms. Ward said.

The questions are crafted by a committee of community leaders from the health fields and beyond. Ms. Ward praised the diversity of contributors, including those representing hospitals, the health department, law enforcement, social service agencies, education, and faith-based organizations.

Because Lucas County has conducted such assessments since 1999 — much longer than many counties in Ohio — health officials have more data to work with.

Having that information means Lucas County agencies and organizations are better positioned when applying for funding for new programs and services, said Jan Ruma, vice president of the hospital council.

“Data is really important to secure resources,” she said. “It tells us what our problems are and makes us competitive for grants to fix them.”

Health officials will see how the community has changed since 2014. That report found 15 percent of adults had been diagnosed with diabetes and 36 percent of adults were obese.

Findings from the 2017 survey will be published and presented to the community in September, Ms. Ward said.

Nearly all northwest Ohio counties conduct similar health surveys on varying timelines. Huron and Ottawa counties will send out surveys in February.

Contact Lauren Lindstrom at llindstrom@theblade.com, 419-724-6154, or on Twitter @lelindstrom.

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