Summit County Health Department wants to know how it’s doing |

Summit County Health Department wants to know how it’s doing

Summit County’s health officials want to know how the Health Department is doing and understand the perception of the services it offers.

The Health Department released a survey on Monday and is encouraging community members to complete it within the next six weeks.

Rich Bullough, Health Department director, said officials need to better understand how the community views the work the Health Department does. He said there is a significant amount of data available about what the community’s health risks are. But, that data doesn’t reflect if the Health Department is excelling or needs to improve in certain areas.

“Our hope is that it becomes more of a qualitative survey rather than quantitative,” he said. “We want to know what the issues are that are important.”

Health Departments typically release general health assessment surveys every five years. The county’s last general evaluation was in 2012, but officials decided to focus on mental health and substance abuse services rather than complete another assessment in 2017.

The survey that is currently posted online doesn’t resemble a typical general health assessment survey, Bullough said.

“Data only goes so far,” he said. “We are hoping to make that personal connection. We want the community to inform us. This is also an opportunity for us to inform the community. We want to know what they know and we want to know what they prioritize.”

The 21-question survey includes 11 mostly open-ended questions such as:

  • What is the greatest public health concern?
  • If you were to suggest starting one new public health program what would it be?
  • What is one health-related area that you feel that the health department could improve upon?

The survey takes roughly 10 minutes to complete and is available in English and Spanish. It can be completed online or in person at one of the three Health Department locations throughout the county. Responses can be anonymous. But, respondents who remain anonymous will not be eligible for the giveaways the Health Department is holding based on the number of surveys that are completed. Respondents who make their information available will be eligible for prizes such as Amazon gift cards. The survey is intended to help inform the Board of Health’s strategic planning process, which will be underway in the fall.

Phil Bondurant said some people feel open-ended questions will prompt a wide array of answers that won’t directly identify public health concerns. However, he said it will give officials an opportunity to see what people are thinking about.

“We need to take a different approach,” he said. “These questions allow people to provide input. We’ve heard concerns about humanity and social equity. That is not usually captured in typical assessments. We are hoping we will find a common thread where we can say, ‘50 percent of responses are addressing this or hoping we implement this program.’”

Officials are hoping to get 750 responses within the next six weeks. Bondurant said that is the minimum number needed to validate the results. He added, “We want 1,000 or 1,500.”

“We know people get survey fatigue,” he said. “We are cognizant of that. But, we hope people understand the importance of having a say in what is going to happen with the future of public health in Summit County.”

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