Community Health Needs Assessment Released

Results from Summit Health’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment are in and the data is alarming.

Nearly three-quarters of adults in Franklin County – and about 20 percent of the county’s children in kindergarten through sixth grades – are considered “overweight” or “obese” by Body Mass Index standards. Just three percent of residents consume three servings of vegetables, daily.

“Diet, exercise, obesity and mental health issues affect large numbers of Franklin County residents,” said Berwood A. Yost, director of Franklin & Marshall’s Center for Opinion Research and Floyd Institute for Public Policy. Yost led the research effort for the CHNA.

A public event to release the CHNA findings was held on June 5th for residents and community health stakeholders interested in identifying barriers to health and ways they can collaborate to address them. He noted that while the data points to improvements in heart disease and dental care, Franklin County does not meet 21 of 30 Healthy People 2020 objectives that can be tracked. Healthy People 2020 is a science-based, 10-year initiative of the federal government that establishes topics of concern and corresponding benchmarks to monitor the progress of improving health, nationally.

“Unfortunately, the improvements are far outweighed by the negative trends. Few residents regularly exercise and hardly anyone eats three vegetables a day,” he said. “Many people eat fast food three times a week.” In addition, data suggested large income disparities among minority races and ethnicities. “These vast disparities have implications on health. These disparities have persisted despite the county median household income going up.”

See the key findings and full report below. 

2018-2019 CHNA Key Findings

2018-2019 CHNA Full Report

The health summit included four important presentations:

Ann Spottswood, Director of Community Services for WellSpan/Summit Health provided an introduction to the Healthy Franklin County initiative and an overview of the CHNA process. Key points from Ann’s presentation included introduction of the Healthy Franklin County CHNA Leadership Team, and the work of the five Task Forces over the past three years and the systematic process used to identify the community health priorities for the next three years. Download PowerPoint 

Berwood Yost, Director of the Floyd Institute Center for Opinion Research and Director of the Floyd Institute for Public Policy at Franklin and Marshall College, presented the primary data survey information, research on secondary data for the CHNA and the key findings of the data. All participants were provided with a written summary of the key data findings on the health needs of the community. Key findings of the Center’s research show that the most significant health risks in Franklin County relate to obesity and related behaviors of diet and exercise, mental health issues, access to healthcare and the social determinants of health. 2 in 3 Franklin County residents are affected by one or more social determinants of health. Watch video

Beth Toner, Senior Communications Officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, gave a keynote presentation. Beth’s presentation discussed the importance of health equity, social justice and how to build a culture of health. Beth explained how everyone can have an impact on improving the health of a community. Watch video

A panel discussion with Robert Stephens, Health Officer for Garrett County, Maryland and Jennifer Koppel, Executive Director of the Lancaster Coalition to End Homelessness was facilitated by Beth Toner. Both Robert and Jennifer shared their experiences with working with community partners and policy-makers to improve the health of their communities. They also discussed the significance of health equity, the social determinants of health, community engagement and engaging with diverse populations. Watch video

Event participants shared why they attended the health summit. Watch video

What's next?

Conducted every three years, data from the CHNA is used to identify strengths, gaps and opportunities to better meet local health needs and guides the development of a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Once developed, the CHIP will direct the county’s implementation of health-related programs and initiatives over the next few years.