BY RAY LIGHTNER
The Spalding County Health Department is going through accreditation, and part of that is a survey of the community. Dawn Walker, the District 4 Health Services quality director and accreditation coordinator, encouraged people to participate in the survey.
Walker said with the accreditation process, Spalding County and the other counties in District 4 would, “hopefully getting best practices.”
As guest speaker at the Education Prosperity initiative last week, she said “the county health rankings are a measurement of how we are doing in our community.”
The latest national rankings, Walker said, showed an improvement for Spalding County, from 141 in 2013 and 2014, to 135 of Georgia’s 159 counties for 2015.
“The biggest improvement,” she said, “was access to exercise opportunities.”
Some of the problems shown in the latest ranking include adult obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, unemployment, children in single-parent homes and low birth weights.
“We know this report, done annually by the University of Wisconsin,” Walker said, “does not tell us what you think. The survey is what you think, we want you to let us know.”
The 27 survey questions include what the three most important things are needed to
be a “healthy community,” what are three most important health problems in the community and the three most important risky behaviors in the community. There are also questions about services availability and quality including schools, social and civic opportunities
A link to the survey is available at the new Spalding County Health Department Facebook page and it is also available in printed form for those not online or without access to a computer at the Health Department and elsewhere. Education Prosperity Initiative Chairwoman Jewell-Walker Harps sent copies home with some of the area churches to make copies and distribute.
“We’re trying to reach as many as we can,” Walker-Harps said, “and change as many lives as we can, one by one”. She reminded those at the meeting, “Our goal is to change this community, we have a vision, a mission, we have program and result we want. It’s one thing to say it and it happening, something has to happen in between.”