Health survey

Dietician Sandy Ellington was among the representatives from local health, government and social service agencies that attended the first session of the Gateway Wellness Coalition’s Rowan County Local Public Health System Assessment last Friday at the CHER building.

    St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Morehead State University and the Gateway District Health Department have joined to form the Gateway Wellness Coalition, a group tasked with assessing and making recommendations for improving the local public health system. 

    Coalition members and community stakeholders met Friday at the Center for Health Education and Research (CHER) to launch the Rowan County Local Public Health Assessment, an 18-month community health needs survey of four Gateway-area counties: Bath, Menifee, Morgan, and Rowan.

     The process began with a day-long event in which city and county officials and representatives from health, wellness and social service agencies used radio frequency (RF) clickers to respond to a detailed series of questions about the quality, safety, accessibility and feasibility of the local public health system.

People’s Clinic Board Chair Mattie Burton helped facilitate the assessment. She told the audience that the public health system extends beyond the county health department.

    “It’s not just the health department’s responsibility, its all of us,” Burton said.

    She said the Gateway Wellness Coalition is better suited than a paid consultant to assess the local public health system.

“Who knows Rowan County better, someone from Chicago, or you?” Burton asked the audience.

     Participants responded to questions about how well Rowan County performs 10 essential public health standards supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Public Health Performance Standards Program (NPHPSP).

Most of the responses placed Rowan County in the “moderate” performance category. A notable exception was the group’s “optimal” assessment of local emergency responders’ job performance. 

When it’s concluded, organizers hope the assessment will “ultimately lead to a local health system improvement plan that will benefit the entire Gateway population and improve coordination and collaboration among our health system entities,” according to a news release.