Groups unite to measure the region's health

·2 min read

Jun. 1—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Long distance to the nearest store with fresh produce, limited recreation opportunities, lack of adequate housing and poverty all can affect the health of a community.

That's where the annual community health needs assessment comes in.

Conemaugh Health System, the 1889 Foundation, the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health have teamed up to launch this year's assessment, which will collect, analyze and report information about the comprehensive health of the community.

"Its role is to identify factors that negatively affect the health of a population and determine the availability of resources within the community to address those factors," a press release from the population health center said.

To kick off the assessment, a 38-question community health survey will be distributed. The survey will be mailed to random households in both Cambria and Somerset counties.

The survey will also be sent out electronically, and hard copies will be distributed to partner agencies.

Responses are due back by June 10.

"Community input is absolutely critical to the success of this effort," said Jeannine McMillan, executive director of the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health.

As the assessment continues, there will be focus groups to gather additional feedback and a community health summit will be held in August to discuss the results of the survey, and develop action plans around opportunities identified through the survey process.

Conemaugh Market President William Caldwell said the community health needs assessment helps the hospital with its mission of making communities healthier.

"We are proud to partner with the United Way of the Laurel Highlands, 1889 Foundation, and the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health on the Community Health Needs Assessment to identify the most significant health needs of our region," Caldwell said, "and build a roadmap to achieve better health for our communities, now and long into the future."