PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Health Department, in partnership with the Chatham Health Alliance, released the 2018 Chatham County Community Assessment last week, a document designed to inform …
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PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Health Department, in partnership with the Chatham Health Alliance, released the 2018 Chatham County Community Assessment last week, a document designed to inform community leaders of the problems facing the county and help direct steps forward.
According to the report, more than 100 volunteers and 45 organizations contributed to the 265-page assessment. In a letter at the beginning of the document, the organizers say they hope the report “brings a better understanding of Chatham County, and we look forward to working with (the population) to improve the health and well-being of those fortunate enough to call Chatham home.”
Shannon Kincaide Godbout is the editor of the report and social research associate for the health department. She said the assessment came together to help the community figure out steps forward.
“We think it’s really important to make sure that people in the community and organizations have access to this high quality data,” she said. “By putting it into this report, it streamlines the process for these organizations. We are hoping it will be a centralized resource for people in the community.”
The report is the end product of more than two years of surveys, focus groups and research. The state Division of Public Health requires county-level health departments to release Community Health Assessments every four years, and tax-exempt hospitals like Chatham Hospital are required to complete a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years to meet IRS requirements. The assessment is a joint project, the second such venture after the first collaboration in 2014.
The report states that the collaboration “added expertise and credibility to the process while creating synergy and avoiding duplication of efforts.”
Kincaide Godbout said the department took the word “health” out of the report “to emphasize that it’s going to be a community resource.”
“We wanted to get people who weren’t involved in health in one way or another to understand that these issues affect people,” she said.
The report does cover healthcare topics like depression, cancer and heart disease, but also analyzes data on topics like racism, transportation and firearm safety. The assessment also includes full survey results and infographics for easier digestion of the data.
Kincaide Godbout said the report will be available online at the Chatham Health Alliance website — chathamhealthalliancenc.org.
“I think this report is a good starting point and I’m sure it can be improved upon,” she said. “By getting this out in the community and getting new partners to see where they can be involved in this, it can only get better.”