Lauren Vagelakos: Let your voice be heard for health survey

Special to the Gainesville Sun

What are the characteristics of a healthy community? Your answer to this question may depend on how you feel about your own personal health, such as how often you eat healthy foods or exercise.
To others, it may mean living in a safe neighborhood, or having access to the doctors and medical services they need. Definitions of a healthy community can vary, but are all important when working together to uncover the core health issues in our area.

Thankfully, residents of Alachua County now have the unique opportunity to give feedback on their views on health and health care in Alachua County. How do you feel about health-care delivery and health-care providers in this area? What health issue is most important to you personally, and what issues do you think are most pressing in the community? These are the types of questions residents have the opportunity to answer by taking the Alachua County Community Health Survey.

The feedback from these surveys will be used to inform the Alachua County Community Health Needs Assessment 2016, which is a joint project among Florida Department of Health in Alachua County and UF Health Shands Hospital. Additionally, a steering committee for the project has been assembled with representatives from city government, safety-net providers, oral health providers, physicians and nonprofit organizations. These organizations have come together to assist with directing the goals of the project, in hopes to garner the most community input and response possible.

In addition to providing valuable feedback to the community, community members who participate in the survey will have the opportunity to win a $50 Visa gift card. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete and will be available to Alachua County community members until April 4.

WellFlorida Council, the local health council and consultant for health causes, is conducting the community health surveys. The community survey is available online and in paper form. To take the survey online, visit (and select “Survey”).

To receive a printed version of the survey, or for additional information regarding the surveys, email or call Lindsey Redding or (352) 313-6500, ext. 110.

The community input gathered by these surveys is an extremely important component of the Alachua County Community Health Needs Assessment 2016, and it will help to inform health projects and programs throughout our county for the next several years.

So make sure you let your voice be heard, and don’t be left out when it comes to giving your input. The insight you have on health in Alachua County has the opportunity to have an impact in your community for years to come.

— Lauren Vagelakos is an associate Planner at WellFlorida Council.

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WellFlorida Council, Inc. is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization created in 1969. We are the state designated local health council for 16 counties in North Central Florida and specialize in health-related consultancy for clients and projects throughout Florida.

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