Kathy Cancilla

Kathy Cancilla, the accredidation coordinator for the Grant County Public Health Department, shared the assessment report with the County Court Oct. 23.

The Grant County Public Health Department created an assessment to inform the county of various concerns in the community.

This assessment will also assist in obtaining national accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board and in developing a community health improvement plan.

“The improvement plan is much like a strategic plan by identifying the three main priority areas‚ social determinants, unified leadership and vision and infrastructure — and identifying goals and activities for those goals,” said Kathy Cancilla, the accreditation coordinator.

Cancilla spoke about how being a frontier county comes with unique challenges that others may not consider.

“At one point Monument lost their ambulance service,” Cancilla said. “Now just think about that for a minute. Someone falls and has a broken hip you call an ambulance. What if there isn’t an ambulance?”

The assessment reported that 30% of the Grant County population is older than 65 and that Oregon in general will see an increasing population of older adults.

“As I travel around, every community has their own perception about what’s going on and we don’t necessarily have the data to back that up,” Cancilla said. “Public health needs to be collaborating more with law enforcement and other agencies that work with people to gather data and support or change the community perception.”

Statistics regarding teens in the assessment were important, since many of the comments from the community didn’t include teenagers.

The assessment highlighted that 23.9% of Grant County 11th graders have seriously considered attempting suicide, while 8.9% had attempted suicide, according to an Oregon Student Wellness Survey.

Feeling safe was another problem. One-in-five high school juniors in Grant County felt that they had no one to protect them. The study also showed that 46.5% of eleventh graders lived with someone who is or was a problem drinker or smoker.

“The community people either say ... our teenagers are great and there are no problems and other people say we aren’t doing anything to help teenagers,” Cancilla said. She hopes that the statistics will speak for themselves.

The next topic focused on statistics for physical health in the county. About 9.6% of the population in Grant County is diagnosed with diabetes. This is higher than the overall Oregon rate, which is 8.28%.

The top five health concerns in the community, according to the results of an online survey, were: Drug and alcohol abuse, mental health/depression/suicide, diabetes, tobacco use and obesity.

The steering committee did find a pattern in the survey.

“Drug and alcohol abuse issues directly relate to domestic violence, child abuse and mental health including depression and suicide,” according to the assessment. “Obesity issues directly relate to diabetes, heart disease and indirectly to drug and alcohol abuse.”

For a copy of this assessment, click on this link, (go to http://communitycounselingsolutions.org/centers/grant-county-health-department/ and click on the assessment or) google “community counseling solutions” and click on “Grant County Health Department” and then scroll down to find the assessment or pick up a copy at the Grant County Library.

To make any comments on the information in the Public Health Assessment, contact Kathy Cancilla at 541-575-0429 ext. 4517 or email her at Kathy.cancilla@ccsemail.org. Comments will be accepted through Dec. 31.

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