The Roundup -

Voice Your Opinion With the Community Assessment Survey July 29 and 30

Volunteers Needed


The Richland County Health Department and Sidney Health Center, with oversight from a community steering committee, have teamed up to conduct a Community Assessment survey throughout all of Richland County July 29 and 30 from 3-7 pm each evening. Volunteers wearing bright green t-shirts will be canvassing the county asking participants to answer some general questions. Responses are totally confidential. The survey should only take about 15 minutes and surveyors will not be going into homes. Please be courteous if you are contacted.

The assessment is critical on several levels. It is a tool to determine the overall health of the community and the quality of life from a broad cross section of people who may not normally voice an opinion. Health includes health behaviors, physical environment, socioeconomic factors and clinical care. Each of those categories influences the other. The assessments help drive community opinion. Voices are stronger and more accurate when they come from the community, and therefore gradually cause change. Because of the results of community conferences and assessments, much has been accomplished over the past 20 years such as the Boys and Girls Club of Richland County, The Richland County Community Foundation, the VISTA volunteers, and potentially the community complex.

Sidney Health Center is federally mandated to conduct an assessment every three years to keep its tax-exempt status. It also helps with strategic planning to make sure the services offered are meeting the needs of the community. The survey is also a great way to engage people who may have never needed the services offered at SHC.

The Health Department must do a survey every five years. With limited resources, they use the final data to make sure funds are used in the most effective way, and to focus efforts on areas of most concern to the community. The survey is also critical to maintaining accreditation, which helps with grants and other federal and state funding. Both entities will use the information to develop more prevention programs as well.

The survey will also be testing emergency preparedness and will be used to determine ways of both receiving and disseminating information in the event of an emergency.

All information will be available on both the SHC and Health Department websites to be used by the public.

Using CASPER (Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response) as the tool for assessment has provided assistance from the state, which has connections to the CDC. The CDC has mapped out clusters in Richland County, which will be visited by the volunteers. The state is helping to format the questions, build a database, and will do the final report.

Volunteers are still needed throughout the county to conduct the survey. Lunch will be served from noon – 1pm, with training from 1-3. Groups of 2 or more will then conduct the assessment from 3-7pm. Each volunteer will receive a t-shirt and a goodie bag.

Volunteers who conducted a similar survey in Dawson County found the work very rewarding, feeling like they were making a difference and improving the community.

Do your part to improve the overall health of Richland County, either as a volunteer, or by taking a few minutes out of your day to complete the survey.

Contact the Richland County Health Department at 406-433 2207 with any questions or to volunteer.


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