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Allegheny County Health Department launches new community health survey

The Allegheny County Courthouse in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Health Department is encouraging residents to participate in a community health survey.

The health department estimates the online survey takes about 20 minutes to take and asks participants to share details on a variety of topics including health care access, chronic disease, health risk behaviors, environment, maternal and child health, and mental health and substance use disorder.

“Results from this survey will help the Allegheny County Health Department better understand the health needs of our community,” said Dr. LuAnn Brink, Deputy Director for the Allegheny County Health Department Bureau of Data, Reporting & Disease Control. “When Allegheny County residents participate in this survey, it helps us gather the information we need to plan for and take action to improve health equity and ensure that we have a healthier Allegheny County for all.”

The survey is web-based, and the health department hopes to have 3,000 participants from the county’s population of almost one million adults.

Dr. Stephen Strotmeyer is an epidemiologist for the health department who is helping lead this survey study. He said the health department ran a trial of the survey in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh earlier this year.

“We collected a few thousand responses from that and found that most of the responses were from individuals 65 and older — much more than you would expect,” Strotmeyer said. “But we are still trying to reach everyone through newsletters, alerts, individual links and QR codes.”

While the survey is only open until April, Strotmeyer said he hopes it becomes a regular tool the county uses to habitually evaluate community health trends and needs.

The survey is part of the Health Department’s Plan for a Healthier Allegheny County, a five-year plan started last year. The plan focuses on improving physical health, behavioral health and the environment.

The survey is available in nine languages: English, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Nepali, Persian, Spanish and Swahili.

Erin Yudt is an intern newsroom production assistant and senior at Point Park University majoring in journalism and minoring in psychology. She’s originally from Sharpsville, about an hour north of the ‘Burgh. Erin is the current editor-in-chief of Point Park’s student-run newspaper The Globe, an apprentice for the Point Park News Service and news director for the student-run radio station WPPJ. She has interned for PublicSource, Trib Total Media and The Sharon Herald.