Health survey set for Douglas County
An alliance of health care providers, nonprofit agencies and residents plan to launch a countywide survey next month to take the temperature and pulse of health issues in Douglas County.
The survey, to be conducted by a Flagstaff, Ariz., research company, will randomly select 400 Douglas County residents and ask them questions about their lifestyles, health care concerns, activities they participate in and demographic information.
All surveys will be done anonymously and will take between 20 and 25 minutes.
“The purpose of the study is not to judge lifestyles. What we really want is to gauge the health of our community so that we may find out what its needs are,” said Cheri Johnson, community relations manager for Carson-Tahoe Hospital.
Representatives from Barton Memorial Hospital, Carson Valley Medical Center and Carson-Tahoe Hospital and several nonprofit agencies have teamed up to create the Healthy Community Initiative Douglas.
The diverse group hopes to glean enough information from the survey, conducted by Professional Research Consultants, to prioritize health issues then address them with grant money.
“Going to a doctor or a hospital is not necessarily what health care is about,” said Johnson.
“There’s a lot to be said for preventative medicine. Whatever it is that we can do in the community, in terms of programs to keep people healthy, is what we are striving for,” Johnson said.
So far, the three hospitals have committed $6,000 each to fund the $24,000 survey. The group will go before Douglas County commissioners July 5 to ask for a partnership and money.
Healthy Community Initiative Douglas hopes to build a program similar to Carson City’s, which has received more than $300,000 in grants to fund a tobacco cessation program.
The health survey is the first step for Initiative Douglas to launch a full-scale program tackling countywide health issues, Johnson said.
“That’s why it’s important that we get as many responses as possible. We want an accurate look at health issues facing the county from Topaz to Lake Tahoe,” Johnson said.
Questions will be applied to health-related issues such as hospital access, home safety, tobacco and alcohol consumption, exercise and diet, women, men and children’s health and recreational activities residents may routinely do.
The identity of the survey participants won’t be known to Healthy Community Initiative Douglas, Johnson said. Telephone numbers will be randomly selected based on a zip code list.
“Confidentiality is important to us. No one within HCID will know who has been contacted,” she said.
Researchers will conduct the survey from out of the area, where the information is compiled and broken down by age, income, location and other pertinent demographic information.
To make the survey scientifically sound, the research company will strive to have 400 participants.
Johnson encourages residents to take the time to answer questions.
“Our goal is to make Douglas County a healthy place to live for each person. Whatever we can do to achieve that goal comes down to community participation,” Johnson said.
Once the survey is finished and data compiled, Initiative Douglas will release the results of the survey.
“From there, we will prioritize the needs based on the survey,” Johnson said.
For example, if Douglas County is identified as having a high rate of smokers, that issue would be placed higher on the Initiative’s priority list. That list then helps Initiative Douglas apply for federal, state and private grants that specifically deal with health-related issues.
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