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Area health district plans survey

— Okanogan County Public Health wants to know how community members perceive health-related issues in the community.

The health district is conducting a community health assessment and is seeking opinions from as many people as possible. The 11-question survey can be accessed through the district’s website.

Community Health Director Lauri Jones said the district narrowed down hundreds of potential questions into the survey to people who could provide information on what they think is important, health-wise.

“We have the raw data” from various sources on topics such as mortality, illness, birth rates and so on, “but we want to see how people’s opinions align” with the data, she said.

Initial surveying was done with the help of Wenatchee Valley College at Omak nursing students, but the project was expanded to reach a more “statistically significant” number of county residents, she said.

Health care, immunization rates, quality of life and other topics would be addressed.

Results will be compiled into a report, which then could be used by the district to tailor its programs.

“How does what we know compare with perceptions? What’s the disconnect?” she said.

The district needs to update its information periodically and it’s been awhile since a similar survey was done.

“Things have changed, especially around technology,” she said.

Budget cuts also have taken their toll on the district, which has seen a staff reduction by half in recent years with the same health mandates to address.

Jones said the district also needs to do a better job of letting the community know what it does and helping to address health concerns.

“I’m tired of being ranked 37th in terms of health out of 39 counties” in the state, she said.

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