Douglas County holds community health assessments

Evaluation is part of new health department

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About 150 people attended online and in-person meetings from Oct. 4-6 to contribute to a community health assessment (CHA) currently being administered by Douglas County.

The meetings took place in Highlands Ranch, Parker, Larkspur, Franktown, Roxborough and Castle Rock. 

The assessment is part of the county’s new health department, which was created after commissioners voted to split from Tri-County Health Department Sept. 1. Douglas County will continue to receive services from Tri-County until at least 2023. 

The county contracted with Health Management Associates (HMA) for $144,720 earlier this year to complete the CHA along with a public health improvement plan (PHIP). Both are requirements of a local health department. 

This assessment’s goal is to “collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative health-related data” from community members and partners, according to HMA documents. The team has gathered survey responses, input from the community input meetings and health data gathered by other health agencies to create its report.

Once the full report is finished, it is intended to be used to inform local decision-making related to public health.

The report, which typically takes about a year to complete, is set to be finished by the end of October.

HMA also planned to conduct focus groups with business leaders and Spanish-speaking Douglas County residents before completing the report, according to HMA. 

Questions about the process can be submitted to the county online at douglas.co.us/citizenconnect.

The survey, which HMA said was not conducted to be statistically valid, asked residents about their biggest health concerns. About 4,632 people completed the survey. The results, presented during the community input meetings, show that the majority of the respondents said the worst health problems in the community are mental health problems, vaccine-preventable hospitalizations or death, and social media.

Most respondents also said that the three “most risky and/or harmful behaviors” in the county are not getting vaccinated against COVID-19, unsafe driving behaviors and not wearing a mask. 

Data gathered by HMA and presented at the community meetings show various county rates related to health including chronic disease, birth rates, life expectancy, injuries, behavioral health and communicable diseases. 

The meetings also consisted of breakout group sessions where representatives from HMA listened to residents’ thoughts about the data and information presented.

More details on the survey responses, the health data and the CHA and PHIP processes are available at douglas.co.us/community-health-assessment.

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