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Community health at forefront of CHIP public meeting

A public meeting held on Thursday, June 19, at the Lakeview Elks Lodge continued discussions of needed community health priorities.

The meeting, which operated under the banner of ‘Healthy Outback,’ drew in vivid crowd of area residents to discuss progress in the Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) efforts expended over the last year.

Kicking off the meeting was a lively group Zumba activity led by Janet Herrera, who leads local classes three times a week, supported by several assistants.

CHIP Coordinator John Adams and Lake District Hospital Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Cornwell detailed the progress to date.

The four priorities developed in the comprehensive plan included oral health, mental health, senior services and physical activities.

For oral health, Advantage Dental’s Sherry Ludwig spoke on the communicable nature of cavities, which makes proper prenatal care vital as a preventative measure.

A dental sealant and fluoride varnish program for eligible school children is slated for roll-out this fall, she said.  Students in the Oregon Institute of Technology’s dental hygienist program may assist with this program.

Lake County Mental Health Dir. Ben Paz detailed the Mental Health First Aid program that is designed to help train community members in identifying the warning signs of depression so that those afflicted may get the help they need.

There is also a component of integrating mental health services within primary health care providers.

Adams reviewed efforts related to promoting physical activity to area residents, including the development of a scholarship program for utilization of existing programs.

Ann Crumrine reviewed efforts associated with developing an all-compassing countywide parks and recreation program.

Teresa Thomas reviewed efforts underway to better coordinate and promote services for senior citizens.  Grant funding has been received in support of a part-time volunteer coordinator position.

Adams noted some of Lake County’s health-related statistics, which include 41 percent of the population as overweight, 19 percent as obese, 45 percent of adults having high cholesterol and 44 percent of survey respondents reporting high blood pressure.

Lake County’s health rankings as per statistics from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation rank Lake County’s quality of life at 25th of 33 counties.  The same statistics reported Lake County’s health outcomes at 30th out of 33 counties.

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