Public asked to help determine health priorities for Fredericksburg region

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Public asked to help determine health priorities for Fredericksburg region


Members of the public are invited to review results of the recent Community Health Assessment and suggest future priorities.

A session is planned from noon to 2 p.m. April 5 in the theater room of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library at 1201 Caroline St., Fredericksburg. It is the first meeting to work on the 2022 Community Health Improvement Plan which will build upon information from the recent assessment.

The event is hosted by the Rappahannock Area Health District and Mary Washington Healthcare, which jointly sponsored the assessment for the first time this year. The meeting is open to the public as well as representatives from groups that participated in the assessment. Lunch will be provided and those planning to attend are asked to register at forms.gle/WAwDMEz52fapW7Ag7.

The assessment included survey results from almost 2,000 residents and feedback from more than 70 community organizations in the Fredericksburg area. Almost 99 percent of the responses came from the local health district, which includes Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford.

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More than half the participants rated mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, stress and suicide, as the most important health issue facing the region. Second on the list was COVID-19 followed by alcohol, drug and opiate abuse.

Those who completed a survey also were asked to name the top three ways to improve the quality of life in the area. More mental health services ranked No. 2, after more affordable housing and before good jobs and a healthy economy.

At the April 5 meeting, those attending can participate in the interactive process of selecting the top 3 issues “we will take action on as a community,” according to the RAHD. Local health officials decided to hold the meeting in person because Fredericksburg and surrounding counties are experiencing low levels of COVID-19, according to state data.

More details of the 2022 Community Health Assessment can be found in the report, available at vdh.virginia.gov/rappahannock. Comments on the report are accepted through April 3.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com



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