The UGA College of Public Health (CPH) is working with the Archway Partnership to conduct community health needs assessments in three Georgia communities: Habersham County/Habersham Medical Center, Pulaski County/Taylor Regional Hospital, and Sumter County/Phoebe Sumter Medical Center. The assessment is part of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirement that non-profit hospitals complete a community needs assessment and action plan every three years. The assessments will include data gathering regarding the hospitals’ service offerings and patient care, as well as including stakeholder focus groups and community input.

In Habersham, the CPH has prepared a draft survey for presentation at the next Health Work Group meeting, which is scheduled for Feb. 19 at Habersham Medical Center.  This meeting will also function as a focus group that will address community health needs. Marsha Davis, associate dean and professor in the UGA College of Public Health, will attend along with two CPH graduate students. Once the hospital staff has approved the survey, it will be distributed both electronically and in hard copy format throughout Habersham County.

On behalf of Taylor Regional Hospital, Davis and her team are collecting and evaluating over 400 community surveys. CPH graduate assistant Ayanna Robinson and CPH student/Archway graduate assistant Sabrina Cherry visited Hawkinsville in December to conduct three focus groups of Pulaski County residents and conducted phone interviews with Wilcox County health care workers. After analyzing all of the data, Davis and her team will return to Pulaski County in February to present their findings to the 30-person engagement committee.

Phoebe Sumter Medical Center (PSMC), in preparation for the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment, is seeking interview assistance, data analysis, and implementation plan development. Cherry is assisting with this project. She has transcribed and compiled personal interviews to identify health and wellness trends and themes and reported back to PSMC. She also compiled health surveys of Rotary Club members.

Mary Alice Applegate, the Sumter Archway Professional, recruited a large group of stakeholders (87) to form a Community Health and Wellness Issue Work Group. Applegate also contacted the Sumter Ministerial Association and compiled a list of 49 contacts. All were invited to the Phoebe Sumter’s input sessions facilitated by the Phoebe Putney Medical Center strategist. These community health needs assessment input sessions were attended by 47 citizens on two different days. She organized a follow-up meeting, inviting two trained facilitators to come and help the Phoebe Sumter strategist compile the input from the two different sessions into one document.