Grant To Improve Chattoogans' Health PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 13 July 2017 15:33

The Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition, Inc. (NWGRCC) has received a “Two Georgias” Grant to improve the health of Chattooga County. NWGRCC is tasked with creating a Community Health Partnership titled “Live Healthy Chattooga County Coalition”, participating in a Community Health Assessment, and creating a Community Health Improvement Plan. The project is funded in part by a grant of $70,500 from Healthcare Georgia Foundation (Foundation). Created in 1999 as an independent, private foundation, the Foundation’s mission is to advance the health of all Georgians and to expand access to affordable, quality healthcare for underserved individuals and communities. The mission of the NWGRCC is to promote health, hope, and healing to the people of Northwest Georgia through providing cancer education on prevention, screenings, early detection, research, survivorship to the communities in the region; training to healthcare professionals on early detection, screening recommendations, and current research, and to promote healthy lifestyles, nutrition and physical activity.

Chattooga County is located in NW Georgia and has a population of almost 27,000 people.  The U.S. 2012 Census reports 85.9% of the population is white, 11.4% are African American, 4.6% are Hispanic/Latino, .3% are Asian/Pacific Islander and 1.5% are multiracial. The median age is 39.5 with 77.5% over 18, 5.9% under 5 and 15.4% over 65. In 2012, 23% of adults were uninsured with 5,080 Medicare recipients and 6,838 Medicaid recipients. Adult obesity is at 36% compared to the state rate of 29%. Teen births are at 73% compared to the state average of 42%. Access to physical activity is 49% compared to the state rate of 75%. The Chattooga County Health Ranking is 99 out of 159.

There are no mental health or full hospital facilities in the county. Floyd Medical Center furnishes an Urgent Care and a Physical Therapy and Rehab Center. Redmond Regional Medical Center furnishes a Family Medicine Clinic and supplies the ambulance services for the county. Primary Healthcare Center, a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (an FQHC), is also located in Chattooga County.

Per the 2015 US Census the owner-occupied house unit rate is 66.3%, the median value of an owner-occupied housing unit is $63,900, and median household income is $33,856. High school graduate or higher rate for persons age 25 and older is 70.7%, and only 8.8% of the same age group have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.  33% of the population drives further than 30 minutes to work. 23% of adults living in Chattooga County are currently uninsured.

20.7% of families live below the poverty level threshold. Families with children that have annual incomes of less than 150% of the federal poverty threshold for this area is 43.7% (as per Kids Count 2011-2015).  The percentage of children under age 18 living in families where at least one parent is unemployed, has been actively looking for work in the past 4 weeks, and is currently available for work is 7%. In 2014, the percent of families headed by unmarried women (living with one or more of her own children under age 18) receiving child support payments during the previous calendar year was 28%, yet there are 40% of children who live in single-parent households. 

The number of children under age 18 living in households that are owned with a mortgage/ loan or are owned outright is 54% according to Kids Count 2015.  On the other end of the spectrum, 59% of the children in Chattooga are eligible for free lunch (County Health Rankings 2016). 

Problems associated with access to care were reflected in the community input sessions and community surveys conducted by Floyd Medical Center in their 2013 Community Assessment. Regarding Healthy Behaviors reported by people in Chattooga County – 19% adults reported they smoke and 36% have a BMI of 30 or more. Almost half (49%) of adults reported having access to exercise opportunities.  The Primary Care Provider ratio is 1,918:1. Health behaviors are modifiable factors that impact the overall health of a community with high rates for tobacco use, obesity and teen births. The risk factors in Chattooga County are obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco use, limited access to health care and prevention services, poor diet, and alcohol use.

ChattoogaCountyhas a rate of death that is significantly higher than the state averages for ischemic heart and vascular disease, COPD, and Alzheimer’s disease. Incidence rates are significantly high for cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions (including lung cancer) and digestive system disease (including colorectal cancer). There is also a high occurrence of hospitalization associated with fall-related injuries.

The 2013 Floyd Medical Center Community Survey results reveal that 33% of Chattooga County residents believe themselves to be healthy or very healthy, while 67% consider their community as a whole to be unhealthy or very unhealthy. The main health concern relates to the overall economic status of the community. These factors include employment, access to health insurance, transportation for services and the cost of healthy eating. Lifestyle issues are also a concern relating specifically to tobacco use, physical inactivity, obesity and substance abuse. The main barriers to a healthy community were identified as convenience of health care services, knowledge of services available, cost of services and apathy. Working poor who may live at or below the poverty threshold, but who do not qualify for public assistance are presumably less likely to make health and wellness a priority, and are often not insured. Through the Two Georgias Grant opportunity, these barriers can be addressed and many may be overcome with the partnership and dedication of the community organizations, governments, existing facilities, volunteers and citizens themselves.

The Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition (NWGRCC) has promoted cancer prevention and delivered programs in Northwest Georgia since 2002 and has raised over $5 million in grant support through the Georgia Cancer Coalition, Georgia Department of Public Health, American Cancer Society, among others.


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