Calling on You to Assess Community's Health

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If you are a St. Mary’s County resident, we may be calling on you to help improve the health of the community.

 St. Mary’s Hospital, the St. Mary’s County Health Department and the St. Mary’s Community Health Advisory Committee are interested in the health of St. Mary’s County residents and need your help. Beginning in June, 1,100 randomly selected residents will be called to participate in a health assessment survey. The questions are designed to determine the key health issues in the community.

“The comprehensive community assessment provides baseline health-related data for St. Mary's Hospital to plan its future initiatives and provides information for the hospital and other health-oriented community agencies to evaluate currently offered programs,” said Joan Gelrud, vice president at St. Mary’s Hospital. 

A similar health assessment was conducted in 2003 and alerted the community to several health risks, such as the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes in St. Mary’s County. The survey indicated that more than half of the county’s residents have lifestyle behaviors that put them at risk for developing cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. The results of the assessment led to programs encouraging lifestyle changes and promoting screenings in the community.

The upcoming survey may ask about access to health care; exercise and physical activity habits; prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke; and awareness of hypertension and cholesterol. Other possible topics surveyed are childhood asthma prevalence, alcohol and tobacco usage, and cancer screenings. The call is expected to take about 10 to 15 minutes. Holleran, a research firm located in Pennsylvania, will conduct the phone survey for St. Mary’s County. If you have caller ID, the number for Holleran may show up as a 717 area code — please do not hang up.  

So, if the phone rings and you are asked to participate in the community health assessment, take a few minutes to answer the questions for the health of your family, friends and neighbors. If you have any questions about the survey process, contact Barbara Hak, director of Health Connections at St. Mary’s Hospital, at (301) 475-6195.

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