249125 Prevelance of Health Indicators - Results of a Health Needs Assessment from Tamaqua, Pennyslvania

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hollie Gibbons, MPH, RD , Community Health Department, St. Luke's Hospital, Bethlehem, PA
A health needs assessment was conducted in rural, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, located in Schuylkill County, to identify health and social needs of the community. A variety of data collection methods were used to identify community concerns and individual health status. One method used was a community needs survey administered to a convenience sample of 381 community members living in Tamaqua. The survey collected data pertaining to individual health status, access to medical care and social and health needs. Survey results indicated that Tamaqua has the same health disparities as many rural towns. The following results compare the prevalence of several health indicators in Tamaqua to state and national 2009, or in some instances 2008, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey(BRFSS) data: Residents (42%) were more likely to have physical, mental or emotional limitations as compared to state (19%) and national (19%) data; Less likely to report general health status as good to excellent (68%) as compared to state (85%) and national (86%) data; Have higher smoking rates(34%) as compared to the state (20%) and national (18%) data; Have higher obesity rates (47%) as compared to state (28%) and national (27%) BRFSS data; Less likely to have dental exams (46%) in the past year as compared to 2008 state (71%) and national (71%) data; Less likely to participate in physical activity (63%) as compared to state (74%) and national (76%) data. Additionally, the five most prevalent conditions reported by survey respondents were: Hypertension (43%); Diabetes (23%), Migraines (23%), Asthma (21%), Mental Health Problems (17%). Fifteen percent of residents reported having no health insurance as compared to a state rate of 12%. Although data collection focused on adults, secondary data was collected for childhood obesity rates. Children in the Tamaqua Area School District, grades kindergarten through 6, had a higher obesity rate (25%) as compared to Schuylkill County (21%) and the state (17%) yet a lower rate (20%) in grades 7 through 12 as compared to the state rate (17%) but higher compared to the county rate (22%). Conducting a health needs assessment to collect the above data, has helped Tamaqua prioritize community health needs through the development of a comprehensive strategic health plan to reduce disparities. Additionally, information gathered from the assessment now serves as baseline measures for community health status improvement efforts.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Compare the prevalence of selected health indicators in rural, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania to state and national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data.

Keywords: Rural Health, Community Health Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I manage community health and disease prevention programs.
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.