You can help make for a brighter, healthier county

Your drug store receipt invites you to take a survey, so does your fast food receipt: you could win $3,000, or get a free breakfast sandwich! Surveys pop up almost every time you buy something online. It’s our bet that you’ve already been asked to take a few surveys this past week.

On behalf of all of our CHQ 250 partners, we are asking you to take yet another survey. The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is conducting a community health assessment. The stated goal is to “identify and address the most pressing public health needs of Chautauqua County.”

In reality, they can determine many of those “pressing public health needs” from New York State Health Department data and from local data sources. So, why does this survey matter? Why are we asking you to take five to 10 minutes of your valuable time to get online, or get on your mobile device, and give us your thoughts?

It matters because your responses are not only about health. The most important information we take from this survey is about the quality of life in this community, what we as a community value, and what you and your family need. We can’t get that information from the state Health Department. Yes, we ask about how many fruits and vegetable servings you eat, and whether you have health insurance, and how often you visit your doctor and dentist. Keep in mind that communities with good access to health care usually have a higher quality of life for all residents.

Access to safe, enjoyable places to be active is a quality of life issue. Have you been thinking that more paved trails would be nice, and would help to keep you more active? Tell us on the survey. How about a disc golf course, or short hiking trails nearby? What are your ideas for amenities that might improve health and quality of life where you live?

Your survey responses also matter because they help us to dig deeper and to plan better. If you can’t get the medical, mental health or dental care you need, why not? Part of our action plan will be to change that. There is no law banning smoking in cars with kids. Should we have one?

Please, take the Chautauqua County Community Health Survey. It’s confidential. We truly want, need, and value your input, and it will do your heart good to help us out!

The survey is available in English and Spanish, and can be taken online at the following websites: English: Spanish: Paper copies of the surveys have been distributed at several community and medical sites throughout the County and more are available by request. The survey takes 5-10 minutes to complete and will be available through March 15.

For more information about the Community Health Survey or the Community Health Assessment/Community Service Plan process, please contact the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health at 1-866-604-6789.

Chautauqua County has high rates of both heart attack and stroke, but an estimated 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes are preventable. CHQ250 is an initiative of the Chautauqua Health Action Team(CHAT), encouraging you to take action to be one of at least 250 strokes, heart attacks, or related deaths prevented in Chautauqua County in the coming year. This column is written by CHAT members to share information to help you to do your part to live a life free of stroke or heart disease; it is not intended to replace advice provided by your healthcare team. Please direct questions or comments to: