Howard health department leading phone survey on state of county's wellbeing

The Howard County Health Department is conducting telephone surveys this summer asking residents about their health. The initiative is part of a larger project in collaboration with other organizations to improve community health and wellness.

In partnership with The Horizon Foundation, Howard County General Hospital and Columbia Association, some 2,000 adults — representing a demographic sample of county residents — will be interviewed, according to the department.

The survey, which will be administered in English and Spanish, will be based on methodology used by the Centers for Disease Control, and will include questions about childhood obesity, access to care and local implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“This survey gives us an insider's look at the health status and health behaviors of Howard County residents,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County health officer, in a statement. “We can use its findings for better coordination of care, to target health disparities and to reduce barriers in obtaining access to care.”

The findings will also be used to aid government agencies and private-sector organizations to establish policies, conduct research, educate and implement health promotion programs, officials said.

The survey is underway, and is being conducted through August. Officials said any personal information collected will be confidential and will not be used to identify respondents in any way.

Results of the survey will be posted at howardcountyhealthsurvey.com. The survey will be repeated in 2016 and 2018. Data from a previous survey in 2012 survey is available on the website.

Residents who are asked to participate will receive a call on their land line or cell phone. Caller ID will display the number 410-313-8016 and the text will read “Health Survey,” officials said.