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PVPC releases health survey

Date: 9/26/2014

GREATER SPRINGFIELD – The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, on behalf of the Oversight Committee of the Hampden County Shared Public Health Nurse Assistance program, has announced an online Hampden County community health survey and invites the public to participate.

This survey is conducted by Ready EDI, a local research and consulting company hired to conduct a community public health assessment for 12 Hampden County municipalities: West Springfield, East Longmeadow, Ludlow, Palmer, Monson, Hampden, Brimfield, Southwick, Granville, Tolland, Blandford, and Montgomery. The basis of this project is funded by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance’s Community Innovation Challenge Grant program.

This community health assessment will aid in identifying unmet health needs that can be addressed by local public health boards and other health initiatives occurring within the region.

The assessment focuses on community health conditions, as well as health care access issues, and is organized around five prevalent health sectors:

• Chronic Diseases – cancer, diabetes, asthma/COPD, hypertension, heart disease, etc.;

• Infectious Diseases – Lyme disease, STDs, influenza, food-borne pathogens, etc.;

• Environmental and Occupational Health – asthma, workplace accidents, etc.;

• Health Related Behaviors – opiate use, mental health, obesity rates, teen pregnancy, etc.; and

• Injury and Violence – adolescent suicide, domestic violence reports, elder abuse, etc.

Dr. Thomas Taaffe, anthropologist and principal investigator for the study, encourages the public to participate.

“This is a good moment for people in the small towns of Hampden County to make their feelings known,” Taaffe said. “Their insights can go a long way to helping local towns better understand their community health needs and address them. It also offers these small towns a way to make their concerns known beyond their neighborhood.”

Thomas Fitzgerald, health director for the Southwick Board of Health and participant of the Oversight Committee, said, “This survey is an important first step in improving the county's public health ranking,” referring to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings Annual Report (, which consistently ranks Hampden County the lowest in the Commonwealth with respect to public health outcomes.

To take the survey, visit or, click the survey button on the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission website,

For any questions regarding this assessment, contact Taaffe, principal investigator of Ready EDI, at, or Joshua A. Garcia, PVPC Municipal Services Coordinator, at or 781-6045.