Friday, November 18, 2011

How can Charlestown become a healthier place?


Charlestown Patch

November 18, 2011

How Can Charlestown Become a Healthier Place?

A community health assessment is underway in Charlestown and organizers are seeking input from you. Here's a summary of what the assessment means.

There will be a community meeting on Dec. 1, where organizers hope to hear answers to that question. The meeting is part of a community health assessment, sponsored by the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and coordinated, in part, by the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition. 

This following is the first in a series of interviews with community leaders in Charlestown who will discuss the Community Health Assessment. This interview is with Joan Quinlan, executive director of the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement. The interview was submitted by the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition. 

What is a community health assessment?

MGH will work with the Charlestown community to review data and talk with people to be sure we are addressing the public health issues that matter most to you. We have always conducted these assessments -- most recently through the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition -- but now the new federal health care law requires us to do it every three years. 

What is the assessment process going to look like?

We have asked individuals and organizations representing different “sectors” in the community to participate on an advisory group over the next six to eight months. We will be looking at data, holding community forums and talking with people to learn the most pressing issues. We will then prioritize those issues and develop a plan to address them.  

What is the value of the assessment to the residents of Charlestown?

This assessment will be available to individuals and organizations throughout the community. MGH and Spaulding will not be able to address every issue, but other organizations may use the information in this report to write grants and tackle some of the identified issues.   

The public is invited to a Community-wide Forum to talk about what affects the quality of life for Charlestown residents. The forum is Friday, December 1 at the Knights of Columbus, 75 West School St. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m., and the discussion will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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