Joanne Erspamer, Public Health Supervisor, Family and Community Unit, gave a presentation about the Carlton County Community Health Assessment that was just completed on December 13, 2017.
 
The purpose of the community health assessment is to convene a diverse stakeholder group to identify what factors affect the health of its population and what resources are available within the community to address these factors. Completing a Community Health Assessment is a core function of local public health. Some of the data used for this assessment include a five year Bridge to Health sample from 2000 through 2015, a MN Student Survey from 2010, 2013, and 2016, MN health and death statistics, the US Census, and MN Partnership data. Community data used for this assessment included questions asked at the County Fair, a county-wide electronic survey, and a PHHS employee world cafe. She showed a PowerPoint program that covered the top 3 priority areas. The first priority was to address illegal drug use and misuse of prescription medications. MN death certificates show that between 2000 and 2015, 56 total drug overdose deaths occurred in the state. The second priority addressed mental health. According to their regional survey, more than 55% of adults felt down, depressed or hopeless in the last 2 weeks. Only 9.2% of Carlton County responders felt they got the social or emotional help they needed. Priority 3 focused on affordable housing and the need for a local homeless shelter. Altogether, 74% of the responders felt that this is a moderate to severe problem. In Carlton County, 19% of the residents rent housing, while renter incomes have fallen by 17% and rents have risen by 30% since 2000. Other priorities were mentioned such as obesity, dementia and Alzheimer's, abuse and neglect of children, affordable healthy food, lack of family and children's activities, tobacco use during pregnancy, and need for a sense of community. Did you know that in Carlton County over 15% of people under 18 live in poverty, and over 10% of seniors do as well? Thanks to Joanne, we all know a lot more than we did before, even if we missed the meeting, as your editor did!
 
Excerpts taken from the Cloquet Rotary log, edited by Rachael Martin 
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