Clinton County health needs study planned for 2020

By Gary Huffenberger -



WILMINGTON — A professional assessment of health needs in Clinton County is slated for next year, with results anticipated by the end of June 2020.

The last time such an assessment was conducted here was 2015, and a study that recurs every five years is a typical time period for public health type organizations to check the pulse of a population’s health situation, said Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Walker-Bauer.

HealthFirst for Clinton County, which is a community foundation that awards grants worth thousands of dollars to community health-related projects, has chosen Professional Research Consultants (PRC) to do the 2020 assessment and report. PRC also did the assessment in 2015, said Pat King of HealthFirst.

These type of health-needs assessments, meant to be comprehensive and to offer a look at a cross-section of residents, is very important in helping health-related organizations and agencies determine priorities and come up with data-based strategic plans, King said.

The final written report from the assessment also is helpful to grant-writers because having data that demonstrate a need and clarify the extent of the need can be pivotal in which grant applicants are awarded funds, she said.

“In our experience at HealthFirst in receiving grant applications, the applicants refer to the health-needs assessment frequently concerning whether the grant request meets or addresses needs that are important in the county,” said King.

Through hundreds of cell phone interviews of Clinton Countians, PRC will collect information that will be added to existing data.

HealthFirst last week committed about $25,000 to fund the assessment — about half the $50,000 price, King said.

King and Walker-Bauer met with Clinton County commissioners this week and asked them to consider assisting financially. Clinton County Commissioners President Brenda K. Woods said commissioners would discuss the matter further and get back with King.

During the appointment with commissioners, King said the Clinton County Legacy Fund’s grant-awarding committee will find it very beneficial to have a current needs assessment in place to help the committee determine which projects and programs to fund in the county.

It’s expected the recently formed Clinton County Legacy Fund Committee will award the first grants in 2020, with about $500,000 available for next year’s grant awards. The Clinton County Legacy Fund consists of money received from selling county-owned Clinton Memorial Hospital.

Walker-Bauer said she sees health assessment information getting used “lots of places,” adding the data bring in money from outside the county, too. Moreover, the needs assessment helps the Clinton County Health Department decide what to focus upon.

She said the Clinton County Board of Health will provide funds to support the upcoming assessment, probably close to $10,000.

The CMH Regional Health System and some other major players will be approached for possible funding support, said King.

To see the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment report, please visit and click on the Resources tab to see the 255-page document.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.


By Gary Huffenberger