Chase County

Completing surveys is often seen as a waste of time, especially when you never see any results from your participation.

However, there is a survey being offered to residents of Chase County with a potential payback that is enormous. Kearney County was the first Kansas county to complete this survey and, by using the data they acquired from survey, they have secured over $1,000,000 to improve the health and provide wellness opportunities for their residents.

Participation in the Community Health and Wellness Resources Survey is anonymous and voluntary. Each household that completes a survey receives a $10 Chase County Chamber of Commerce gift certificate!

The Chase County Health Services Board, CCHSB, received a grant to complete the Community Health and Wellness Resource Survey. It was through the efforts of the CCHSB that the Chase County Family Health Clinic in Cottonwood Falls was built in 1983. The board currently maintains the clinic building and assures that health care is available there.

Chase County is the sixth county in Kansas to receive funding to complete this survey. Kearney County was the first in 2017. Their survey results revealed that access to fresh food was an identified need. As a result, they built community green houses and implemented a program to dramatically increase the amount of fresh produce available to residents.

The community members also identified child care as a need and are currently in the planning process to build a child care center.

The Community Health and Wellness Resources Survey was created especially for use in rural and frontier counties. Chase County is a frontier county. A frontier county is defined by population density of less then six people per square mile, amount of gravel vs. paved road, increased travel times to reach population centers/resources, the effect of seasonal changes and weather and how it changes access to services, and the difficulties in getting information disseminated to residents.

Mindy Graham RN, who has served as secretary for the board for four years and is project manager for the survey said, “The members of the CCHSB realized that quality of life and health is more than having clinic services available. We recognized that the resources that make a community a healthy place for people to live, work, learn, pray and play are key to wellness. We just weren’t sure how to go about finding out what our community members knew was currently available here, and how to find out what people want and need in Chase County. Then, we found this survey! What makes this survey a great match for us is it’s references to rural/frontier life and that the project model depends on Chase County residents to administer and collect the information.”

Graham, who lived in rural Saline County for 25 years before moving to Chase County 10 years ago, worked in public health and early intervention that covered four rural and frontier counties.

“What I knew from being a member of a rural community, and what I learned working with so many folks in rural settings, was that every rural community was different from every other rural community,” she said. “They each had their own culture, sense of independence, needs and desires. They did not appreciate or want someone outside of their community deciding what they needed. It didn’t feel respectful or make sense for outside entities to make those decisions. This survey will allow us to find out how aware people are of what is currently available in Chase County and what resources people here want to have for their health and wellness.”

The community partner leadership team involved in the survey project are: Mindy Graham RN, (project manager), Julie Lockmiller LPN (consultant) Sue Alexander RN, Carol Coirier PA, Sheila Cooper, Barb Davis, Mark Davis, Steve Griffin, Mike Holder, John Ireland, Lori Kohlmeier, Sandy Luder, Katie Mann, Toni Schneider, Clara Jo Talkington and Randy Talkington. The community partner volunteer team includes many listed above and: Lisa Eidman, Mandi Beyer, BettyAnn Yeager, Linda Bledsoe, Cathy Schlup, Dawn Sisson, Melissa Smith RN, Deb Haglund, Gwen Runde, Tiffany Harshman, Vicki Thorton, Ken Grochowsky and Kelly Glanville.

Survey collection began the week of the Chase County Fair and will continue through mid-November.

The Kansas University School of Medicine Department of Population Health – Wichita, under the direction of Judy Johnston RD, MS, LD will collate and analyze the data and return it to CCHSB in late winter/early spring of 2020. Focus groups will be set up and all interested residents may attend to have deeper discussions about the top needs identified.

All results will be made available to Chase County residents. The survey results and data will serve as a prioritization and planning guide for health and wellness resources by a community-based coalition. The data collected will be used to secure grant funding and initiatives.

Surveys are available to Chase County residents only, one survey per household. Completing the survey is voluntary and all information is anonymous. The goal is to collect surveys from 700 households. A Chase County Chamber gift certificate is available for each completed survey.

Surveys are available at the Chamber of Commerce office in Cottonwood Falls and at the Chase County Clerks office in the Chase County Courthouse during regular hours. The survey will also be offered at the Chase County Health Fair on Nov. 2 at the high school.

Watch Facebook, the newspaper and flyers for announcements of other events and locations where the survey will be available. Questions may be directed to Mindy Graham through the Chase County Chamber of Commerce office at 620-273-8465.

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