St. Clair County Health Department wants your input
St. Clair County would like 15 minutes of your time as health officials assess the quality of life of residents in the county through an online survey.
Health department officials hope at least 1 percent of county residents — or 2,000 to 3,000 people — take part in the survey, according to Mark Peters, director of community health for St. Clair County.
Information from the survey called “Life in My County” will be used as members of the countywide health care commission continue to develop the 2017 countywide needs assessment and planning process, Peters said.
The survey will “gauge health, healthcare and environmental issues from the perspective of the local resident,” Peters said. “It tries to determine if there are things within a community that they would consider to be assets — access to healthy nutrition, nutritious food; opportunities for people to get out get exercise; safety issues; it’s not necessarily looking at the whole county, but one community at a time from the perspective of a family.”
The survey is anonymous and confidential, according to Peters. However, he said participants will be asked to enter their city of residence and other information like their age.
“We never ask for any personality identifiers,” he said. “We don’t ask for addresses; we don’t ask for names.”
The survey is available now through July 31.
It’s not necessarily looking at the whole county, but one community at a time from the perspective of a family.
Mark Peters, director of community health for St. Clair County
The hope, Peters said, is for residents in every community within St. Clair County to complete the survey.
“Hopefully, we get enough from every community that we can work with the local leaders of that community,” he said.
Peters said members of the commission, like Scott Air Force Base, Gateway Region YMCA and the Regional Office of Education, will summarize the data from the surveys and meet later in August to evaluate the results and try to identify areas that need to be addressed.
The goal is to determine three to five “priority health issues” the commission and its member organizations will address over the next several years.
“We are referring to them as wildly important goals that we need to focus on as a system, as a partnership in the next three to five years,” Peters said.
Moving forward funding will likely continue to be an issue for county health departments, according to Peters, due to the state budget impasse in Illinois.
“How do we find the wherewithal from within?” Peters said. “How do you get business involved in adopting communities? How do you get businesses to say, ‘We want to work with our teenagers. We want to work with moms. We want to work with our churches.’ It’s about finding the means and the capacity to work together.”
Five years ago, when the last countywide needs assessment was done, the priority health issues, were behavioral health (suicide and substance abuse), maternal and child health issues (teen pregnancy prevention and infant mortality), chronic disease (obesity, diabetes, lung cancer and asthma) and violence prevention, according to Peters.
St. Clair County ranked 95th out of 102 Illinois counties in the 2017 national County Health Rankings released in March.
The online survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/Life_in_My_County.
“Not every community is the same, this does allow us to customize and work with the community leaders,” Peters said. “Together, we can try to create conditions where people can be healthy.”