Health Focus Groups Next Month

SNOW HILL – Worcester County health officials and a partnering nonprofit want the community’s input on their health care system.

The Maryland Rural Health Association, an organization that advocates for optimal health in rural communities, is working with the Worcester County Health Department to garner the community’s feedback in two focus groups scheduled in the remaining days of March.

Kat Gunby, director of prevention services at the health department, said the focus groups are a way to gather information about health care from residents and health care workers alike.

“It’s letting them speak from their own experiences about the health and wellbeing of themselves and others in the community,” she said.

Gunby explained that the Maryland Rural Health Association will use the anonymous data from 18 rural counties to form the state’s first rural health assessment. She said the association is using funding and partnerships with the University of Maryland, College Park to conduct the study.

“It’s going to eventually be used by health care decision makers and legislators to improve the health infrastructure in rural Maryland,” she said.

A trained facilitator from Wicomico County will be on hand to ask participants about their experiences with their area’s health care system and how it can be improved, according to Gunby.

“For health care workers, it sort of gets to on-the-ground health care matters,” she said, adding that doctors, dentists, nurses, public health providers and the like are encouraged to attend.

A focus group for community members will take place March 28 from 9-11 a.m. and another for health care workers March 30 from 9-11 a.m. Both will occur at the Worcester County Health Department in Snow Hill.

Gunby said individuals can R.S.V.P. through March 27 by calling 410-632-0056.

Gunby added that she will be conducting focus groups for Wicomico County residents and workers next month at the One Stop Job Market in Salisbury.

A focus group for community members will take place April 4 from 1-3 p.m. and another for health care workers April 12 at 9 a.m.

Those in Wicomico County can call 410-543-6930 to R.S.V.P.

Gunby said space is limited, but added that participants will be given $25 for their time. She encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to attend.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.