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Our Community Health Needs Assessment tells us where we can help the most

4-13-2018 community health needs assessment

Despite living near some of the nation’s best health systems, people in our area still struggle to maintain good health. That’s something we want to change. Part of MetroHealth’s commitment to taking care of everyone in Cuyahoga County is knowing which aspects of the community’s health need the most attention. Last year, we set out to identify those areas.

That year of research led to our new Community Health Needs Assessment. To conduct the assessment, MetroHealth partnered with The Center for Community Solutions, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy and research organization. Together, we analyzed data, statistics and patient information on health outcomes and factors that influence people’s health. Throughout the process, we noted where Cuyahoga County’s health was lagging behind state and national averages, and looked for gaps between different groups of people in our area.

After a year of study, we identified five areas that will guide our focus for the future:

  • Infant mortality: The number of Cleveland’s babies who don’t survive to celebrate their first birthday approaches that of less developed areas of the world
  • The opioid epidemic: Estimated drug overdoses jumped 60 percent between 2015 and 2016, and are expected to have risen another 46 percent in 2017
  • Racial and ethnic disparities in chronic disease outcomes among our patients: Compared to MetroHealth’s white patients, African Americans have higher rates of chronic conditions, and Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to be obese
  • Community building in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood: People living in the neighborhood are more likely to receive public assistance than the rest of Cleveland
  • Addressing community trauma in East Side neighborhoods: The violent crime rate in Cuyahoga County is nearly three times the national average, and those numbers are even higher in some East Side communities

The statistics might be discouraging, but it’s not all bad news. The assessment also identified several areas where concentrated efforts could make a big difference to people’s health, and that’s exactly what we plan to do. We won’t be able to tackle these issues alone, but we’re not going to try. Working closely with our community health partners, we’ll target these five aspects of Cuyahoga County’s health as we plan for our shared future with this community.

Want to learn more? You can click here to read the full Community Health Needs Assessment.