For Immediate Release
December 11, 2014
Top concerns among county residents: poverty, weight, mental health and chronic disease
INDIANAPOLIS — The health of Marion County residents took a hit during the recession, but public health officials and community leaders are working to turn things around.
On Thursday, Dec. 11, Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director of the Marion County Public Health Department, released the 2014 Community Health Assessment in The Hall in downtown Indianapolis. A product of health experts, care providers and community leaders, the assessment identifies the most pressing health needs of Marion County residents of all ages.
“The 2014 Community Health Assessment not only describes the health status of Marion County residents, it provides in-depth information on their living circumstances and their lifestyles,” Dr. Caine explained.
The assessment is divided into six age-groups, each reported by a work group who reviewed current research as well as the results of the Community Health Assessment (CHA) survey, conducted by phone with more than 5,000 Marion County residents. Work groups then discussed the findings and, taking into consideration their own experiences and expertise, settled on three key health needs per age group that they felt deserved priority action by the community.
In all, four issues stood out that applied to all age groups: poverty, unhealthy weight, poor mental health and chronic disease prevention and management.
“The 2014 Community Assessment provides critical insight into the problems and concerns of the people of Marion County,” said Matthew Gutwein, president and CEO of the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County. “These new findings should generate action among community residents and leaders to improve the health of our residents.”
Indeed, early next year, the Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) will conduct public meetings throughout the community to garner feedback and comments. In addition, feedback can be submitted online at www.health.mchd.com, where MCPHD will also post the complete assessment, including the six age-group reports as well as documents explaining the CHA phone survey, the role of MCPHD in countering environmental health threats and controlling infectious diseases, and the sources used in the assessment.
After the public meetings, health and community officials will reconvene, explained Deborah Daniels, former U.S. attorney and current chair of the public health committee for the board of trustees of the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County.
“Feedback from the public and other interested individuals will be used to refine and validate the key findings of the assessment,” said Daniels. “Then, the Community Health Improvement Plan will be developed, laying out a strategy for addressing the issues identified in the assessment, including recommendations for specific policy actions and key lead partners.”
City leaders welcomed news of the assessment and promised to continue to strengthen efforts to improve the health and welfare of residents.
“Healthy and active communities attract new residents and business,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. “In the last six years, Indy has added more than 180 miles of bike lanes and trails with more on the way. By connecting people and neighborhoods, Indy is promoting active, healthy lifestyles and enhancing quality of life.”
“I believe the expanded smoking ban is a good first step in improving the health status of Marion County residents,” added Maggie Lewis, president of the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council. “The Community Health Assessment offers an excellent resource to better understand the needs of the people of Indianapolis.”
“The Community Health Assessment allowed the work groups to bring together data sources in a unique way to provide us with a much more detailed and complete profile of the community than had previously existed,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., MPH.
For more information and the full community health assessment and executive summary, visit www.health.mchd.com or call 317-221-2117.
The Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) is committed to promoting good health throughout the community. MCPHD believes that every citizen of Marion County should receive medical treatment and other public health services in a friendly environment, free from access barriers resulting from race, gender, age, sexual orientation or other cultural and social discrimination. Its mission is to promote and protect the health of everyone in the community and provide health care to those who are underserved. Its vision is for Indianapolis to be the healthiest large city in the United States by the year 2020.
Media/Public Information Coordinator
317-221-2316 (o) │ 317-525-7450 (c)