Health: If you have your health |

Health: If you have your health

People’s Health Clinic turns 20

Hilary Giles, a volunteer at the People's Health Clinic, helps Alizaeh Guzman, right, brush her teeth during a free dental exam on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. The free exams were given as part of the Clinic's Dental Health Awareness Day.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record
People’s Health Clinic Almost 10% of Summit County residents don’t have health insurance, and many of them turn to the People’s Health Clinic for help. Even though 97% of clients have at least one job, affordable insurance is unattainable for them. The clinic is literally a lifesaver. For the clinic, prevention is the name of the game. “Our goal is to prevent illness instead of treating it,” says executive director Beth Armstrong. They provide pediatric and adult vision screening, chronic disease care, women’s health, oral health education, and mental health referrals, all at no charge to uninsured residents of Summit and Wasatch counties. This year marks their 20th anniversary.

This story is found in the 2019 edition of Milepost.

This spring, more than 800 Summit County residents and workers gave the Summit County Health Department a piece of their mind by completing an online Community Health Assessment over five weeks. It covered every issue but mental health, which is being addressed separately through the Mental Health and Substance Abuse program. And what did the Health Department find?

Over half of the respondents described themselves as “somewhat healthy”, and 39% said they were “healthy,” affirming that we are the 2nd healthiest county in the state, which is good news. “Public health doesn’t get a lot of attention, as long as the restaurants are inspected, clean water comes from the tap and infectious diseases are controlled,” says Derek Siddoway, the public information officer for the Health Department, so it was gratifying to have that many people complete the survey.

The public’s input is vital. The survey addressed obesity, chronic disease, environmental factors, funding and communication. It turned out that the two top concerns in the open-ended survey were drug use and air quality.
“The information was presented to the Board of Health in July, and should be adopted by the end of the year,” says Deputy Director Phil Bondurant, adding that, “The survey identified successes and failures.” For example, there are still some areas of the county where over 10% of students have not had their vaccinations, which they all believe is a communication problem.

“We’re trying not to be reactive with issues,” says Siddoway. “We’ll figure out what the public needs, then allocate the resources.” Concerns about air quality, environment and climate is one action area. The Sustainability Department is now within the Health Department, and a new energy analyst will be added to the team to review the county’s facilities and fleet. Another outcome could be the capping of the number of tobacco sales permits, according to Health Department Director Rich Bullough.

So, the community has provided the input, and now it’s up to the professionals to determine the course of action. It’s all about determining the needs of the citizens of Summit County.

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