Matching community priorities with actions

November 19, 2012

In order to gauge the community’s needs regarding health and human services, WellSpan Health, Healthy York County Coalition, Healthy Adams County, along with several partnering organizations collaborated to conduct a comprehensive community health assessment survey of people living in York and Adams counties.

A community health assessment of the region is completed every three years.  The results are used by both county health coalitions and area healthcare providers to plan programming and identify emerging needs and issues.

The results of the 2012 assessment produced several notable observations and findings that will serve as strategic planning objectives for area community health organizations over the next few years. Findings from this year’s survey include:

  • Adams and York counties are growing in population and also getting older.
  • One-in-five residents in both York and Adams counties have been diagnosed with a depressive or anxiety disorder.
  • Adams and York counties have significant numbers of overweight or obese individuals and a majority of people who have low rates of regular exercise.
  • Poverty rates are rising in both counties. The rates are most pronounced in York City, where 37 percent of residents live in poverty.
  • Health disparities data show that poverty and age are significantly associated with differential outcomes related to access, health conditions and prevention behaviors.
  • Only three to four percent of people in the region are eating three servings of vegetables a day.
  • Area residents are spending more time commuting to work compared to 10 years ago. 

In June, Healthy Adams County and the Healthy York County Coalition shared the assessment findings with key community stakeholders. Individuals representing area social services, health care, education and government attended the events to establish dialogue and share insights on the assessment findings.

“We saw some new faces at this year’s health assessment forum and that’s encouraging because that translates into new ideas and energy,” said Kathy Gaskin, executive director, Healthy Adams County. “Everyone was engaged in the issues. There was a lot of discussion and that will lead to creating better solutions to answer community needs.”

Based on the 2012 assessment, Healthy York County Coalition established six priority areas. They are: obesity, tobacco use, depression, workplace wellness, prenatal care and reaching out to those who avoid obtaining health care because of costs.

Healthy Adams County determined four priorities: obesity, depression, dental access and health literacy.

Robin Rohrbaugh, executive director of Healthy York County Coalition, believes York and Adams counties share many similar priorities and that it will help in coordinating strategic planning sessions between the two counties.

“In most cases, the coalitions will be able to link the identified priorities to existing work groups,” Rohrbaugh said. “We aren’t starting from scratch in overcoming these identified challenges.”

In addition to their own efforts, the coalitions have been working closely with WellSpan’s Community Benefit Council to coordinate efforts in identifying the top priorities and establishing action plans for each hospital in the WellSpan system.

2012 Adams & York County Community Health Assessment Partners:

Adams-Hanover Counseling Services
Collaborating for Youth
Family First Health
Gettysburg College
Hanover Hospital
Healthy Adams County
Healthy York County Coalition
Memorial Hospital
United Way organizations of Adams and York counties
WellSpan Health
York City Bureau of Health
York College
York County Community Foundation

To see the full 2012 community health assessment report with results from both York and Adams counties, visit or

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