June 1, 2007
The East Texas Community Health Needs Assessment has been completed by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and several local health departments.
DSHS will present the results from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 8 at Tyler Junior College – West Campus, 1530 SSW Loop 323, Tyler. A series of community-specific presentations about assessment findings will be scheduled in Athens, Center, Crockett, Henderson, Jacksonville, Jasper, Livingston, Longview, Lufkin, Marshall, Mt. Pleasant, Nacogdoches, Palestine, Paris, Sulphur Springs, Texarkana and Tyler this summer.
Beginning in February, the assessment gathered information about public health, mental health, substance abuse and medical care through surveys and community forums in 35 East Texas counties. A total of 1,924 people completed the survey, and 470 people attended the community forums.
The most frequently identified ways survey participants said health can improve is to eat better, exercise and be active, have smoke-free restaurants, provide education and funding and stop smoking. Community forum participants most often identified dental, mental health, substance abuse, medication assistance and health care for the working poor as health-related services needed but not always available.
“This assessment represents a major effort to document a variety of health issues in East Texas,” said Dr. Paul McGaha, DSHS regional medical director in Tyler. “This assessment will provide useful information that can help in improving health and maximizing resources in this part of the state.”
Counties covered in the assessment are Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Jasper, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Rains, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood.
The full report, resource inventory and comprehensive data and information files are available online at www.dshs.state.tx.us/easttexas.
(News media: for more information, contact Dr. Paul McGaha, DSHS Health Services Region 4/5 North, Tyler, 903-533-5264; or Emily Palmer, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, Austin, 512-458-7400.)