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Health department seeking participation in survey

A community is defined by many things, not the least of which is its health, and the Beaufort County Health Department is seeking volunteers to assist with its next full health report.

“The survey is 55 questions long, and the average time to take it is about 12 minutes,” said Jim Madson, Beaufort County’s health director.

The online survey is just one part of the overall assessment, which last occurred three years ago. Other parts of the assessment include the compilation of data supplied by the state, surveys from other agencies and information from focus groups.

“There will be five focus groups throughout the county where the public will be able to come in and talk about their issues and concerns,” Madson said. “The biggest thing we want to do is identify the issues that are in our county. We want to see what’s already in place and determine what needs there are and use that information to make plans and implement strategies.”

An example of the process would be data that shows how many insured people are in Beaufort County and how they are insured — whether through work, coverage provided by a spouse or Medicaid — versus how many residents are uninsured. If one the outcomes of the focus groups show that health insurance is an issue, the county can work with information collected in the survey to strategize ways to get more people insured.

The last online health assessment had plenty of participation, however, this time the county is seeking participation from certain demographics.

“The demographics are usually heavily weighted towards the older population. They seem to fill it out more than the younger people, and minorities seems to fill it out less than whites; women more than men,” Madson said. “Even though the last survey, we had over a thousand people fill it out, we really don’t need that many as long as it represents the demographics. We only need four or five hundred.”

Madson said the county has joined up with Vidant Beaufort Hospital, as well as with 32 surrounding counties to get a broader look at health in eastern North Carolina.

“That allows to us compare data with counties around us and also allows us to combine efforts when we identify similar issues,” he said.

The online health assessment survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/healthenc.