MGH to Help with Community Health Assessment

Town Manager James McKenna announced this week that the Winthrop Health Department and CASA (Community Against Substance Abuse) will be entering into an agreement with the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Community Health Improvement to assist the town in performing a Community Health Assessment.

The MGH Center for Community Health Improvement has previously undertaken this type of assessment work in Chelsea, Revere and Charlestown and has exhibited the experience and capacity to conduct a survey of the community, to identify the health of Winthrop residents relative to their environment and demographic and social experiences.

“The purpose of this Community Health Assessment is to understand how healthy our residents are, what they perceive as the quality of life in the town and what can we do to improve the livability of the community,” explained McKenna. “A proper Community Health Assessment will give the town the information it needs to develop strategies for improving the overall health of our residents and identify the obstacles to good health in our town.”

“In order to understand the conditions that contribute to or detract from public health we need to ask a lot of questions,” said Pat Milano, Executive Director for CASA. “Participation in this Community Health Assessment process is a key component. We are asking for the public’s help in assessing conditions in our community and we’re inviting all residents to lend their voices to this important discussion about healtgh.”

MGH, with the assistance of a local committee of health professionals, civic and business leaders, will survey and analyze the health issues facing the community, including but not limited to prominent public health concerns such as substance abuse; domestic and other violence; obesity; hunger; cancer and other prevalent illnesses; as well as obstacles to health care.

The Community Health Assessment project will begin with an open public forum on Wednesday, August 21 at 8:30 a.m. at the Lyceum Room at the E.B. Newton School.

At the forum, representatives of the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement will make a presentation outlining the study and how it will be conducted. Representatives of the town will also be on hand to enlist the support and participation of residents from across the community.

“A key factor in this study will be to enlist the participation of a cross-section of people from the town,” said McKenna. “We need to see new faces involved in this survey in order to be sure that we are analyzing information from a representative population of the town and assure the accuracy of the data we collect. Anyone who has felt that they have not had a place to voice their concerns, relative to public health in Winthrop, should come to this meeting to assist us.”

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