WILMINGTON — A Community Health Needs Assessment for Clinton County indicated 14 areas of opportunity for those looking to improve health in the county.
“Now that we have this data, it will help HealthFirst, Clinton Memorial Hospital and other area organizations identify where we can best invest our resources to make an impact in areas most important to the community,” wrote Dana Dunn, a HealthFirst board member, in an email. “We would hope to do a request for grant proposals early in the new year with the intent to focus on these key areas, not that we won’t consider others as well.”
HealthFirst for Clinton County, formerly the CMH Foundation, with donations from an anonymous donor, Clinton Memorial Hospital Regional Health System and the Clinton County Health Department, paid for the study to be conducted by Professional Research Consultants, Inc. PRC surveyed 400 people mirroring the demographics of Clinton County and estimated a margin of error of no more than 4.9 percent.
Those areas were substance abuse, mental health, access to healthcare, tobacco use, cancer, dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), diabetes, heart disease and stroke, infant health and family planning, injury and violence, nutrition as well as physical activity and weight, oral health, potentially disabling conditions (like arthritis and back pain) and respiratory diseases.
Dunn pointed to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that shows Clinton County to be 78th of Ohio’s 88 counties in health outcomes, 74th in length of life and 64th in quality of life, despite Clinton County being 22nd in health behaviors.
Some highlights of the 255-page report include higher cancer mortality rates than state and national averages, almost twice the national average of drug-induced deaths per 100,000 residents and higher numbers of people who have been diagnosed as depressed than national averages.
While the report and the presentation focused on where progress can be made, it did reveal areas where Clinton County had rates that were better than state and national rates.
Clinton County had lower rates of drinkers, excessive drinkers and cirrhosis than the rest of Ohio and the nation.
Additionally, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are less prevalent than the national rate, and Clinton County has a lower population-adjusted rate of violent crime than Ohio and the U.S.
At the presentation, members of the community, including HealthFirst for Clinton County board members, ranked substance abuse and mental health as two of its top concerns as well as ones that the community has an ability to change.
Kelsey Swindler, a Wilmington council member-elect and who works in marketing and communications for Clinton Memorial Hospital Regional Health System, said CMH could use the data to better provide services and direct its efforts, especially education programs.
Dunn said those interested in receiving the report and presentation could contact HealthFirst at 937-481-2138.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.