Bell County Public Health District launches survey to improve county’s health

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 9:12 AM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - The Bell County Public Health District is asking the community to participate in its first health survey to find out what people in the community are struggling with and hoping to achieve health-wise.

All people who live in Bell County who are older than 15 are invited to take the survey. The five-to-ten-minute survey will guide residents through simple questions asking how people view health and wellness in their community and what are important factors that define a healthy community.

The goal of the survey is to identify the factors that may be preventing residents from achieving their health goals or may be hurting its residents’ abilities to live a healthy life style.

“That will help us as a health district to drive our programming and to see where we could best try to impact and improve the lives and health of the residents,” Bell County Public Health District Director Amy Yeager said.

After gathering results from the survey as well as statistics and data, the district will make a community health plan which will include around five health priorities for the county to focus on for the next five years.

“Once those health priorities are set, then we’ll hold a health summit of sorts with community partners to officially announce them to the community and to the partners,” she said.

Yeager said community agencies, partners and organizations will then be able to determine what resources, programs or courses they need to offer based on survey results.

The results could also allow agencies to receive grants to start or continue programs.

“That may give them what they need to then maybe write a grant to add a program that they were wanting to add, but, now, they have the data to show that it’s a need here and show that the community is interested to put that forth.”

Yeager said she is excited to see what organizations and agencies do with the information that is gathered from the survey and data. However, she said an important part of truly impacting the community’s health is making sure the community participates both by doing the survey and then pursuing what may be recommended in the survey results.

“We can provide all of the skills, the knowledge and opportunity possible to try to impact health and lives in Bell County, but it still takes the ‘P,’ the public part,” she said. “Then, every individual and organization will decide on their own how much, if any, of the skills, opportunities or knowledge they want to use to try to impact their own life or the lives of other people.”

As people may go through the survey, Yeager wants them to know that their participation is a part of the solution to improving the health of the area.

“We all sometimes will feel like we’re part of the problem, or people can make us feel like we’re part of the problem, but we want the residents to also feel like they’re part of the solution,” she said. “By providing us that information that helps them become part of the solution because they’re contributing to the database for us to try to come up with some solutions to help out the best we can.”

This survey is the first of many processes that the district will be doing to earn special accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board.

“What accreditation does is it shows that you’re a health department that has a base, a foundation for your operations that are standard for other health departments across the country,” she said.

The survey can be found on the district’s website, Residents can fill out the survey until Nov. 5. The results will take months to gather, but the district will announce them once they are complete.