New health assessment coming

Helps identify health issues in Highland County

By John Hackley - [email protected]



The Highland County Health Department along with Adena Health System are beginning the process of creating the Highland County 2022 Community Health Assessment (CHA) this month.

The health assessment is completed every three years. The first planning meeting for this year’s CHA will be held at the Highland County Health Department at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 15. The meeting is open to the public.

The assessment serves to help the health department, hospitals and other community organizations identify the health issues having the greatest impact on the community in Highland County.

“It’s a really important part of what we do at the health department, and the more community input that we get the better we will be able to match up public health services to community needs, and that’s the whole goal of the program,” said Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner.

The first phase of the assessment is the creation of an in-depth communitywide health survey that will be used to determine the most significant impacts on community health in Highland County.

A group of community partners and members of the public will work with the health department to narrow down questions from a national annual health study and use the ones best suited to the local assessment.

Warner said he wants to keep the size of the survey manageable. “The more questions you have on the survey, the fewer people will be willing to sit down and go through it,” he said.

Once completed, the survey will be available online for Highland County residents to complete. Paper copies will be also available for those without Internet access.

The information garnered from the surveys will be analyzed and used to create a community health improvement plan. “Once we’ve identified where the problems are in the health assessment, we start talking about how we are going to try to fix those problems as a community,” said Warner. “This all leads to an action plan that lets us make sure we are providing the services that meet those needs directly.”

Warner said he is able to predict some of the issues that will be brought up in the surveys because this year’s assessment will be the third time the project has been done. “We have a pretty decent idea of what we are going to expect to see from the assessment, but sometimes we’re surprised, and sometimes when we actually gather the data and look at the actual health impacts in the community, some things get a little different priority than others.”

Substance abuse, mental health resources, and tobacco use are health issues Warner expects to see on the surveys. The local infant mortality rate has been an issue raised in previous assessments, but Warner said it may not show up as a major concern this year.

“In the past we’ve worked a lot on infant mortality because we’ve had a higher infant mortality rate related to unsafe sleep practices,” said Warner. “We’ve worked to do some messaging and worked with some of our community partners to try to address that issue, and I think, anecdotally, looking back at some of the reports that I’ve seen, we’ve had some real improvements there, so there are some things that may not show up in the report that were in previous reports.”

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

Helps identify health issues in Highland County

By John Hackley

[email protected]