Health assessment drives solutions

One of the aims of the community assessment is to increase bike lanes and pedestrian walkways.
One of the aims of the community assessment is to increase bike lanes and pedestrian walkways.

A new health assessment for Buncombe County shows an increase in the number of infant deaths, deaths from complications of diabetes and incidences of opiate overdoses.

The 2015 Community Health Assessment Report, released last week, also details how to address these and other health problems in the county. The assessment is performed in each county every three years, and hospitals, public health agencies and more than 30 other community partners work to address areas of concern.

For example, sudden infant death syndrome is largely responsible for the uptick in infant mortality, says Jan Shepard, director of the Division of Public Health at the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services.

“Our numbers are small, but we have seen an increase, particularly in 2013,” Shepard said. DHHS is working on educating parents and other caregivers about safe sleeping practices such as placing infants on their backs or sides to sleep and not having anything that could obstruct breathing, such as stuffed animals and crib bumpers, near the child.

With each assessment, community partners target areas that need work and then develop plans to address those problems.

This year, the county will focus on several groups of people:

·         The aging population.

·         People impacted by health disparities.

·         People impacted by adverse childhood experiences, including domestic violence and child abuse and neglect.

·         Subgroups of the homeless population, specifically veterans and people impacted by mental illness and domestic violence.

This report also will generate action on infant mortality, obesity, intimate partner violence and substance abuse.

“We have seen in the past improvement in many areas,” Shepard said. “We look at numbers every year and we assess what we’re doing; it’s an ongoing process.”

As in the past, the report shows disparities in health and access to health care, with people of color lagging behind and more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses, food insecurity and obesity. Among the solutions proposed are finding ways to increase access to health care, getting healthy foods into low-income neighborhoods and encouraging safe and active transportation such as walking and bicycling.

The report did find some positive aspects to Buncombe County:

·         A strong, vibrant community and “can do” attitude.

·         The mountains and natural environment and the “emerging gem” of greenways are tremendous assets to the community.

·         The caring, creative, friendly, helpful and optimistic people.

“We see improvement in many ways in each cycle,” Shepard says. “That’s the good news.”

To read the full report, visit www.buncombecounty.org/common/health/CHA/2016-community-health-assessment.pdf.

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3 thoughts on “Health assessment drives solutions

  1. Lulz

    LOL, getting healthy food into low income people means actually putting limits on EBT cards. But we can’t have a nation where we BRIBE people into being gluttonous in order to instill fear when voting time comes now can we?

    Here’s the lunacy of left wing doctrine to a tee. And why it continues to create more problems.:

    “As in the past, the report shows disparities in health and access to health care, with people of color lagging behind and more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses, food insecurity and obesity. Among the solutions proposed are finding ways to increase access to health care, getting healthy foods into low-income neighborhoods and encouraging safe and active transportation such as walking and bicycling.”

    Why is anyone who receives government subsidies going to improve their lives when they aren’t directly paying for it? Why do these neighborhoods that are subsidized deemed unsafe to walk? It’s mind boggling to see the correlation between subsidized living and a lower quality of life and it to be completely and utterly ignored. When people are given things, they don’t improve. They have to need to.

    • boatrocker

      News flash- Johnathan Swift’s essay “A Modest Proposal” wasn’t meant to be taken seriously- it’s called satire.

      In other news, gubn’t relief, in all its forms is one of the smaller draws on our country’s finances. The “Greedy Takers” award is tied between Social Security (as the Baby Boomers are still the original ‘takers’) and of course (surprise!) the military. We could save a bunch of money by turning Baby Boomers (who are a huge draw on Social Security) into soylent green and feeding them to the military. It’d be cheaper than MREs.

      Reducing hunger to a Rayndian talking point? Classy.

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