Health department to host forum on Wed.

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Clark County Health Department’s primary mission to make sure the area is the healthiest it can be, but it can only do it with community feedback.

That is why it is hosting the Winchester-Clark County Community Health Forum on Wednesday from 8 a.m. until noon at the extension office located at 1400 Fortune Drive.

“What we are trying to do is pull together as many diverse stakeholders and community members that are willing to attend,” said Clark County Public Health Director Becky Kissick. “What we are hoping to achieve is a true community-centered dialogue,” Kissick said that the event will combine data presentations and a conversation facilitated by officials from the University of Kentucky.

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The health department started gathering data for the event in late September. It was the first time it had done so since 2016.

“The health department conducted a community health assessment…We had 750 folks that replied to that survey,” Kissick said.

Participants were asked to assess things like community health concerns, public safety, and what they would like to see in the community.

The health forum will be the first time the data has been shared publicly. It will be compared to health trends seen at the state and national levels.

“What will do is open the format up by sharing where we have been…We are going to look at the information that was gathered in 2016 and compare that to what we got this time,” Kissick said. “Then we will look at what we are seeing on this health assessment and drawing some parallels from data as well as that narrative.”

The health department also took a unique approach to compiling data: photography.

“We incorporated what is known as photovoice. It was an opportunity to engage people in a flowing series,” Kissick said. “Each week the groups were given a prompt and then asked to take a photo of what they felt, for example, was a community strength…Really it is looking at those same questions that we asked on the survey, but utilizing photography and that visual representation to paint the picture.”

Kissick said that there will be a follow-up conversation to the health forum on Dec. 14 to begin formulating a community health improvement plan.

“We will utilize the information the community has provided, the dialogue that comes out of the conversation on the 30th, and really begin to craft those strategic priorities,” she said.

Of course, the event would not have been possible without the feedback from the community, a fact that Kissick readily admitted.

“Community feedback is absolutely essential because the health department tends to view the issues from our lens and our frame of reference. But what we’ve seen in opening this to the broader conversation and opening this to the community is that it is so much larger than public health, and so we truly depend on the community’s full perspective,” she said.

Those who wish to attend the event can RSVP on the health department’s Facebook page – Clark County Health Department – or by calling (859) 744-4482.