190920 Residents' Perception of the Hunterdon County Health Department

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lani Culley, BS , Department of Health Studies, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
Karen Ann C. Alelis, MPH , Division of Public Health Preparedness & Epidemiology, Hunterdon County Department of Health, Flemington, NJ
Yasmin Rivera-Howard, CHES , Division of Public Health Preparedness & Epidemiology, Hunterdon County Department of Health, Flemington, NJ
Rose Puelle, PhD , Division of Public Health Preparedness & Epidemiology, Hunterdon County Department of Health, Flemington, NJ
John Beckley, MPH , Health Officer/Director, Hunterdon County Department of Health, Flemington, NJ
Background: Hunterdon County, NJ has a population of 121,989. Median household income at $93,342 is fourth highest for counties nationwide. Since county services influence resident quality of life, the health department describes its services through various media outlets.

Objective: The health department will assess resident awareness and perceptions of its services. Concurrently, the “This is Public Health” campaign by ASPH will be implemented to promote public health.

Methods: An intercept survey is conducted from June to August 2008. Twenty-one sites were selected throughout the county to obtain a sample size of 500 residents. A questionnaire was administered and a poster on health department services was presented “This is Public Health” stickers were strategically placed throughout the county.

Results: Preliminary data from surveys conducted in twelve sites show that 146 residents (66.1%) were generally unaware while only 75 (33.9%) were generally aware of health department services. Of these 75 residents, 41 (55.4%) reported the quality of services as high, 26 (35.1%) reported medium, and 3 (4.1%) reported low. Thirty-eight residents (17.1%) were not confident, 75 (33.9%) were somewhat confident, and 93 (42%) were very confident in the department's ability to handle a public health emergency. Of those surveyed, 169 (76.5%) residents reported obtaining health information from newspapers.

Conclusions: Most residents are unaware of the health department services. However, residents utilizing these services were satisfied. The residents prefer newspapers for local health information. These findings suggest the need for an increase in awareness of its services through public relations preferably through newspapers.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify residents' who have used the services provided by the Hunterdon County Health Department. 2.Describe the residents' perception of the health department services compared to other county services. 3. Determine specific media sources for local health information used by residents.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am graduating with a Bachelor's in Health Services Administration on August 31, 2008. This is an internship project being completed through the Hunterdon County Health Department for credit towards my Bachelor's degree. I will be attending East Stroudsburg University to obtain my Masters in Public Health this fall.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.