Description of the Community
For the purpose of community health assessment, this paper has assessed the community of Natrona County in Wyoming State. According to 2015 demographic records, the county had a population of 82,178 which is now estimated to have increased by 8.9% (United States Census Bureau, 2015).The size of this county is 5300 square miles which make it the fifth largest county in Wyoming State. The population density of this county is estimated to be 14.1 people per square mile. The population of Natrona County is composed of Whites who make about 93.9%, Native Americans 1.4%, African Americans 1.5% and 0.9% Asians (United States Census Bureau, 2015). Natrona has about 30,616 households with 31.9% of these households having children with less than 18 years while married couples occupy 48%. In this county, the average age is 36.8 years, which means that the population consists of productive middle-aged individuals. Regarding the physical and social environment, the community has well-developed transport infrastructure. Besides, bridges are placed conveniently, and they connect the various parts of the county. The Department of Road and Bridge ensures that infrastructures are strong enough to handle flood water. In addition, buildings have permits and the management ensures that they offer an environment conducive to the community.
The state of Wyoming is mainly involved with drilling and refinery activities. As such hazardous materials are being dumped into the environment and community health is at risk. Some of the health concerns in this community include mining activities, cave-ins, vehicle collision and crash, fires and explosions (Casper – Natrona County Health Department, n.d.). Moreover, the state mines radioactive materials such as Uranium. Chemicals from such activities expose the community of Wyoming to health complications such as cancer (Bogue, Anderton & Barrett, 2010). Healthy People 2020 indicates that the population of Natrona County face the problem of obesity. Besides, the cause of obesity includes inadequate consumption of healthy diets and physical activity. Individuals in Natrona County do not regulate their nutrition and engage in physical exercise thus failing to support good health. Due to obesity, the population may suffer from other chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Approximately 12% of the population have limited access to physical exercise and healthy foods thus suffering from obesity.
However, the top three healthy problems include drug abuse, obesity and mental wellness of this population. The percentage of smokers has been estimated to be 20% which is higher than national percentage of 14% (Jha, Ramasundarahettige, Landsman, Rostron, Anderson & Peto, 2013).The percentage of obesity has been estimated to be 28% which is also higher than the national rate of 25%.This is attributed to reduced access to healthy foods and physical activities.
For obesity, the problem is almost prevalent throughout the whole population. However, it is more prevalent among the middle-aged population. Since the majority of the members of Natrona County fall into this category, there is the need for an action to be taken on nutrition and weight regulation through healthy diets and exercise. The youth and the middle-aged population is prone to tobacco-related and alcohol-related diseases. This is because most of them are prone to mental, emotional and psychological disorders. This population is also prone to mental wellness (Jha et al., 2013). This is because most of them are prone to mental, emotional and psychological disorders. Young women who are also a majority of the population living in abject poverty are highly prone to mental disorders. Regarding the socioeconomic status, the average household income in 2010 was a little more than $50,000. On average, males earn $61,641 while females earn $41,651. The population that lives below the poverty line was 10.1%. Moreover, the study indicates that the largest population living in poverty are the whites and the second group is the Hispanics. Besides, women with age ranging from 25 to 34 years had the largest population living in poverty.
Records indicate that the county has a higher premature death compared to the national level. With a life expectancy of 75 years, studies showed that premature deaths per 100,000 individuals in the county was 8200. Moreover, the target population suffers from obesity due to limited access to healthier food, lower education and income levels (Healthy People 2020, 2016). Natrona recorded 28% obesity rate compared to the 25% results of the national level (Casper – Natrona County Health Department, n.d.).
Primary Community Resources
The ratio of individuals to mental health providers in Natrona County is 280:1. The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Office concerns with providing services to pregnant women and infants. On the other hand, the Youth Crisis Center offers the social and mental wellness to youths with age ranging from 10 to 18 years. On average, the mental health days are 3.3 days for every 30 days, which is higher than national poor mental days (Bogue, Anderton & Barrett, 2010). Regarding the Boys and Girls Club, they provide mental health services to teenagers. The charges of the organization are based on the assistance provided, space occupied and the location of individuals. The services provided by Wyoming Behavioral Institute include inpatient adolescent mental health services and other mental problems (Koh, 2010). The institution is under contract with the county hospital and limits its services based on the patient’s ability to pay for the healthcare services and insurance plans. One way that healthcare facilities help individuals with mental problems is by publishing their information and educational materials on the company’s website.
The interview supports the concern for obesity since it involved a discussion with an organization such as WIC that recommends the community to participate in nutrition counseling and education. Moreover, the organization provides the community with financial assistance and healthy food. From the interview, WIC is significant since it supports proper nutrition thus preventing many health issues. The organization provides education to children and pregnant women on healthy eating. Health problems such as mental illness and obesity started prenatally due to inadequate nourishment.
Aspects not Being Addressed
Some of the primary community resources offer their services free of charge. However, some of them offer their services based on some charges. This is placing some people who are living in poverty in situations where they are not able to pay and access the services. The biggest population of those living below poverty line is that of young women and as such cannot access the mental health services provided by the County of Natrona. There is need therefore for the County to put a comprehensive intervention plan that will ensure that these people have adequate access to full mental care services.
The goal of Health People 2020 is to ensure that all Americans have attained high-quality life. However, the three health problems undermine this since the community of Natrona are at a high risk of preventable diseases such as lung cancer due to excessive smoking. Obesity exposes people of Natrona County to preventable diseases which cause premature death. Untreated mental problems lead to individuals causing injuries to themselves and other people (Casper – Natrona County Health Department, n.d.). The other goal is to achieve healthy equity among all the groups. Individuals lacking comprehensive insurance cover have limited access to mental health services thus creating a disparity of the services. In addition, the health problems are not in line with the policy of Healthy People 2020 in that they hamper the creation of social and physical environments that would help in the promotion of good health for everyone. It is in this context that calls for a plan of action to see that all is in line with the goals of Healthy People 2020.
A detailed plan of action is required to solve these problems effectively. According to Healthy People, 2020 natural disasters are some of the causes of large-scale traumas (Koh, 2010). Given that Natrona County is prone to natural disasters such as fires and floods a primary intervention plan could be through linking the services of the Road and Bridge Department to providers of mental health service. Moreover, since their services entail dealing with psychological trauma victims, they would be able to provide proper care from their institutions. The community of the Natrona County should get an education on the benefits of extensive insurance cover. This will help them access the mental health care resources. Additionally, Healthy People 2020 suggests that the identification of protective factors would be ideal since it will help prevent the development of mental disorders (Koh, 2010). There is the need for Natrona County to educate its population on ways of protecting them and increasing their access to mental health care services in additional to inculcating good mental health practices among its community.
An evaluation is necessary when you want to see the success of the action plan. The evaluation process to be followed must assess the goals of Healthy People 2020 with reference to the actions taken by Natrona County. Natrona County has failed to satisfy at least three goals as mentioned and in the evaluation process, these goals must be measured as whether they have been addressed (Casper – Natrona County Health Department, n.d.). Equity to health care services, achieving high-quality life and creation of the physical and social environment for the promotion of good health for all are the three measurable tools that must guide evaluation process with regard to the action plan put forth to see its success.
This community’s health perspective has changed the result of fieldwork activities in those efforts towards a healthier population both at local and national level requires researching risk factors in the community that predispose community members to the health problems they face. It also requires the cooperation of community members and the officials of government and health professionals to see the problems being eradicated. In this regard, research is the starting point of diagnosing the health problems in any community. Cooperation between the various areas strengthens research and sound outcomes are achieved.
Bogue, D. J., Anderton, D. L., & Barrett, R. E. (2010). The population of the United States. Simon and Schuster.
Casper – Natrona County Health Department. (n.d.). Welcome to Casper-Natrona County Health Department. Retrieved from http://www.casperhealth.com/
Healthy People 2020. (2016). Nutrition and Weight Status. Healthypeople.gov. Retrieved 27 December
Jha, P., Ramasundarahettige, C., Landsman, V., Rostron, B., Thun, M., Anderson, R. N., & Peto, R. (2013). 21st-century hazards of smoking and benefits of cessation in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 368(4), 341-350.
Koh, H. K. (2010). A 2020 vision for healthy people. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(18), 1653-1656.
United States Census Bureau. (2015). Quick Facts: Natrona County, Wyoming. Retrieved fromhttp://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/56025
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