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This year, COVID-19 and its effects have brought awareness of personal health and the importance of healthy living to the fore in our lives. At UnityPoint Health, we want to be your partner for health in our community. To help us identify priorities, we ask that you be part of the Community Health Needs Assessment, a tool that helps Trinity prioritize our community’s needs for change.

Every three years UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center conducts this community health needs assessment. We reach out to our partners and community leaders through interviews to better understand the health issues they see. In the meantime, we ask you, our community members, for your thoughts on the health of our community. In general, the Community Health Needs Assessment is a way for all of us to use our voice to promote health and wellbeing.

In 2018, the Community Health Needs Assessment identified access to health care, obesity, and mental / behavioral health as priority areas for Webster County. UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center then worked to address each of these issues in a number of ways.

The clinical laboratory improvement addition removes the cost of these important laboratories, allowing us to improve our access to health services for our community. We have renewed this license which allows a nurse to conduct free screenings such as lipid panels, vitamin D and A1C for low income or uninsured members of the community at the Community Health Center. Insured screening is also available each month for just $ 25 per screening.

We also have representatives who sit on the Family and Community Action Team and work with other community organizations to discuss how the community can network, how children can be protected, and how families can be empowered with access to health care.

Trinity has worked with the community to fight obesity, especially childhood obesity. Although it was put on hold this year, in addition to THRIVE Swim, we continued to provide staff and resources for the THRIVE in-classroom wellness and obesity prevention program. These programs promote children’s health early on to improve their long-term health success.

The health of our community is a priority, and that thought extends to mental health as well. Since the last assessment, the Berryhill Center has added Behavioral Health Urgent Care, expanded substance use disorder services, and supported a community-based support group like the National Alliance on Mental Illness for Fort Dodge. During the pandemic, virtual care enabled patients to receive services from home. Along with the provision of more mental health nurses to the Trinity emergency room, our mental and behavioral health resources have improved in the way we serve our community.

The 2018 assessment provided UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center with valuable information that led to change in the community. To make 2021 as successful as 2018, we need your help. If you haven’t received one yet, you will receive a postcard with further information about the survey and the links to the online survey. This postcard was mailed to every home in Webster County.

The online survey can also be found on Facebook, and hardcopy copies of the survey are available at: Fort Dodge Public Library, Community Health Center, Webster County Health Department, and The Lord’s Cupboard. As a hospital, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking the survey and gathering many different perspectives. The data we get from the survey will be used to help plan community benefit activities and resources and to take big steps towards improving our community health.

If you have any questions about this process or would like a hard copy of the survey, please contact Hannah Dutcher at [email protected] or 515-351-1351.

Leah Glasgo is President and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge

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