The Knox County Health Department’s (KCHD) 2014-2015 Community Health Assessment outlines the priority health issues for Knox County. The assessment is the culmination of more than one and a half years of data collection and evaluation by KCHD’s epidemiology staff, a formal process based on a national model to improve community health.
“To effectively respond to the health needs of our community, we must have a deep understanding of the challenges we face,” said KCHD Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. “Releasing this report is a crucial step in building a healthier community. We hope it serves as a useful tool and reference for all readers.”
Twenty priority issues are outlined in the report, including obesity, cancer, injury, violence, substance and tobacco use, environmental health, and food access. When statistically significant, disparities in rates of disease among different populations are noted.
“As readers will notice, some groups of people have higher rates of disease than others,” added Buchanan. “We’ve recognized the disparities, when statistically significant, because factors such as race, gender and income can play a major role in an individual’s health. And we know that we must address all of these factors to improve the health of everyone.”
The Community Health Assessment is a key part of KCHD’s strategic plan to improve health in Knox County and will be used to inform and monitor the organization’s efforts. The assessment is also used by a variety of groups, including medical providers, nonprofit organizations and hospitals, to inform their work as well. In addition, this report will serve as the basis for the Community Health Council's health improvement plan, which will identify the top four issues from this report as well as how best to address them as a community.
This is the second Community Health Assessment KCHD has conducted; the first was released in 2010. KCHD plans to release similar assessments every few years.