By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
The Seward County Health Department is in the completion phase of its Community Health Needs Assessment and Improvement Plan.
The plan is one requisite to apply for accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board, and that is done every five years.
In March of 2013, SCHD invited recommended community stakeholders to join in the beginning of the assessment process.
The health department was awarded an Accreditation Mini-Grant in the amount of $3,000 from the Kansas Health Institute for its efforts toward the project.
SCHD Administrator Martha Brown is scheduled to talk to the Seward County Commission this evening at the board’s regular meeting about a report in the agenda packet.
Brown’s recommendation is that the commission review the report and support the CHA team in moving forward with the health department’s endeavor to “make Seward County a better place to live, play and work.”
The county first embarked on conducting the assessment in January 2013. The first step was a meeting between Brown and Susan Lukwago, a contracted employee of SCHD.
The next step was the recruitment of two health department employees to form the core team of the assessment process. Along with Brown and Lukwago, Charly Madden and Leticia Arredondo completed technical assistance provided by the KHI.
As a result of training from the state, the core team then recruited and assembled a larger needs assessment team. This 25-person team had individuals representing different segments of the community and met in April and June 2013.
The two meetings covered the first two sections of a work plan to conduct a CHA and Community Health Improvement Plan. Out of the April meeting came a survey and a plan to collect data.
Nearly 500 people responded to the survey, which was in both Spanish and English, and they were asked questions about their ethnicity, primary language, household incomes, where they get their health information and about the difficulty of getting medical care.
The Leader & Times plans to follow up on the report in a later story. Tonight’s commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 in the commission chambers in the Seward County Administration Building.