Lindsey Bickers Bock, health education supervisor for Granville Vance Public Health (GVPH), was on Tuesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk to discuss the health department’s current Community Health Assessment survey.
Conducted once every three years and required by all counties in North Carolina, this assessment is designed to identify the health needs of the community and to use the collected information to prioritize the various issues that receive attention and funding.
“All of the work Granville Vance Public Health does is really related to the Community Health Assessment,” said Bickers Bock.
The door-to-door process is nearing completion in Granville County, with surveying to begin in Vance County on Thursday, July 26 at 12 p.m. and concluding on Saturday, July 28.
The assessment includes questions on individual health behaviors, nutrition, physical activity, access to health care and awareness or opinions on community issues.
“The Community Health Assessment is the way we receive feedback from individual members across the county about their experiences related to their own personal health and how they view resources that either are or are not in place to support community health needs,” Bickers Bock said.
GVPH’s prior assessment, conducted in 2015, identified three major areas of need for Vance County: nutrition and physical activity, mental health and substance use disorders and education.
Results also demonstrated that poverty and health equity were two cross-cutting themes of the previous survey. “As a part of the  health survey, we got feedback from both individuals and organizations in the county saying they saw poverty as an issue that impacts health and safety in the community,” said Bickers Bock.
To complete the 2018 survey process, the health department needs approximately 30 volunteers to serve over the three-day period. While Thursday and Friday are covered, there is a need for additional volunteers on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
According to Bickers Bock, survey volunteers are paired up and visit homes in randomly identified neighborhoods to ensure a cross-section of data from all areas of the county. Volunteers may be identified by a GVPH visor and will collect survey information on a tablet.
“We will provide training for interested volunteers,” said Bickers Bock. “Volunteers need to feel comfortable talking with community members, asking survey questions or supporting the person conducting the survey.”
Volunteers are provided lunch, a visor and a gas card if driving their own vehicle to conduct the survey. Those wishing to ride with someone else can be paired with a driving volunteer.
“If you’re not available to work as a surveyor, we hope people who are at their homes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and receive a knock on the door will be available to spend 10 minutes answering questions and sharing their experiences with our volunteers.”
Bickers Bock assured listeners that the information provided to surveyors is kept anonymous and participants are free to answer only the questions with which they feel comfortable.
A Steering Committee consisting of representatives from civic organizations, churches, hospitals and primary care physician offices will meet monthly through March 2019 to review data and provide feedback on survey results. The next committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 9 at the Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center in Henderson.
Survey results will also be shared via community forums to be held in early 2019. Community members will have a chance to view the findings, ask questions and provide feedback.
If interested in volunteering as a surveyor or in joining the Steering Committee, please contact Bickers Bock at (919) 693-2141 – ext. 148. For more information on the Community Health Assessment, including reports from previous years, please visit the GVPH website.