Millions of Americans suffer from some form of illness. This sample health essay explores community health policy groups and initiatives in the United States. This is an example of an analysis by Ultius writers and covers community health, public health policy, and medical care in America.
Community Health Analysis: Douglas County
For this analysis, we will use Douglas County as an example.
Identify the individuals listed as MAPP Task Force members in the Organization Plan who could sit on the CTSA sub-committee.
To determine that medical ethics are followed, it is important when a health assessment is being done that health and safety personnel of the county be involved. During the phases that only require information gathering, should that information gathering be done at the county level, well written and insightful aids or junior staffers or deputies can be employed. Upon the necessity for planning, the evidence-based reports and projections created by said personnel can be provided to the managing bodies of the county along with recommendations. In this instance, I will be performing an independent CTSA, so I alone will be on the subcommittee.
Identify which approach will be used to gather community feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the selected community.
There are seven information gathering mechanisms for use in engaging the community and gathering feedback:
- Community Meetings
- Community Dialogues
- Focus Groups
- Walking or Windshield Surveys
- Photo Voice
- Individual Discussions and Interviews
The internet will be used to conduct primary research. Community-related internet searches may fall under windshield surveys—it is a quick way to get a sense of the local concerns being discussed online. I prefer the windshield survey and internet searches because a higher abundance of data can be gathered that way from sources that would not be readily available due to availability and timing.
Using the appropriate community research approach, detail the major strengths currently seen in Douglas County, Illinois
The median household income of Douglas County ranges between $50,000 and $100,000 per anum. The median household income has remained steady or improved by up to 30% since the year 2000. The median resident age is 37. Depending on the location in Douglas County, the unemployment rate is 8.4%. Average commute times are approximately 20 minutes. Most Douglas County residents drive alone in their car as their main method of transportation. The population density and housing density is very low, and the average household size is 2 to 3 people.
Douglas County is 92.6% White, 5% Latino. Home sales have sharply declined since 2008. Nearly 2/3 majority of voters have voted republican in the 2000 and 2004 elections. Most men and women are married, employed by private companies. Over 70% are high school graduates, but under 20% are college graduates. The county population is just under 20,000 with over 60% of that population being rural (“Douglas County, Illinois (IL)” 2012).
Douglas County’s Health Department has a variety of programs and services available. They provide dental diagnostics to adults once every three years, and complete dental services for children and infants. Their nursing division provides government funded welfare including WIC, family case management, women’s health, vision and hearing screenings, communicable disease, immunizations, lead poisoning prevention, tuberculosis (TB), foreign travel, and diabetes services.
Their environmental health services include food sanitation and education, safe water, septic systems, soil classifiers, pest control, property rights (including mold), nuisance control, tanning salon inspections, solid waste management, and West Nile Virus. Their health education division offers programs in safe kids, oral health, anti-smoking, and bioterrorism. Their special programs include volunteer programs, school screenings and education, and community outreach to the Hispanic population (“Welcome! n.d.).
Coroner and animal control services are also provided by the county; as are highway maintenance and safety and an intact legal system—this prevents violent assault, which is a health hazard when not dealt with (“Welcome to Douglas County Online….” n.d.).
Douglas County’s Mental Health Department provides mental health services such as counseling and therapy, case management, child and adolescent programs, crisis intervention services, screening assessment and support services (SASS), psychiatric services, psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR), community support services, wellness recovery action planning (WRAP), adult and adolescent life skills training (ALST), domestic abuse intervention (DAIP), children first, community outreach services, and educational and public awareness (“Douglas County Mental Health Dept.” n.d.).
Common themes in Douglas County
Affluent white middle-class (solution: private medical insurance already in place)
Concentrated Latino immigration population (barriers: language/culture barrier. Solution: outreach program already in place)
Higher than state average fatal accident count (barriers: a lack of information, possible unknown dangers. Solution: coroner’s analysis and report of cause of accidental deaths, board meeting to interpret findings and engage appropriate county division for increased safety)
Douglas County is a relatively affluent middle-class county with appropriate health and human services measures already in place. The health department is able to provide universal health care and the county is active in providing services, and in expanding those services through outreach programs and volunteer programs. The health department is also not overtaxed because the majority of citizens that live in Douglas County are middle-class to upper-middle-class white republicans employed with private companies.
The type of people in this demographic tend to have medical insurance through private policies or through their employers. There is an 8% unemployment rate (which is below the national average) and 5% of the population of Douglas County is comprised of Latino immigrants. The people in this demographic, when found concentrated in rural areas, tend to earn fewer wages and so would benefit from health services. It seems Douglas County has already responded to this likelihood as they have a Latino outreach program in place.
Douglas County does have a much higher than state average fatal accident count, which would indicate that an analysis of accident type be performed by the coroner and delivered to the health department so that the board can coordinate with the appropriate county division in order to reduce the amount of fatal accidents through the use of accident reduction programs which would act in a similar manner to the ones that are currently finding success in other health concerns (“Douglas County, Illinois (IL)” 2012).