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Atascosa Health Center studying local health needs
by Joe Baker
Aug 01, 2014 | 420 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. Melissa Valerio, interim dean San Antonio’s Regional School of Public Health (left) and Lillian Lyssy, AHC Board Member representing Karnes County pose together for a photo.

Contributed photo
Dr. Melissa Valerio, interim dean San Antonio’s Regional School of Public Health (left) and Lillian Lyssy, AHC Board Member representing Karnes County pose together for a photo. Contributed photo
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A local health provider is working hard to study the health care needs of local people as a way to provide a higher quality of health care services.

The Atascosa Health Center, Inc. in collaboration with the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) San Antonio Regional’s School of Public Health conducted the second of four community health care needs focus group at the Karnes Community Health Center offices last Monday.

“The purpose of the community needs assessment is threefold” said Monty Small, AHC’s CEO. He added: “The needs assessment is a requirement of our primary funding source, the Health Resources and Services Administration; but most importantly, our board of directors and staff will use the information to develop new services or health care business strategies for the next two to three years. Also, it helps the community and AHC to establish priorities and improve community health.”

The UTHSC San Antonio Regional’s School of Public Health is bringing expertise and manpower to the community needs assessment. The assessment will cover AHC’s five-county, 5,000 square mile service area.

“The School of Public Health is partnering with community organizations to determine the needs of communities in the Eagle Ford Shale (EFS). Assisting with the completion of the needs assessment was a great opportunity for us to further expand our partnerships and assist with the identification of needs in the surrounding communities. We have graduate students and a research team assisting with focus groups facilitation, key informant interviews, patient surveys, and assembling secondary data or health statistics and facts about AHC’s service area,” said Melissa Valerio, PhD, MPH, Interim Dean of the San Antonio Regional’s School of Public Health. She said, “We envision the needs assessment as the start of a long term relationship with AHC and other community health and social service providers in the area.”

In addition to the San Antonio Regional’s School of Public Health, the South Central Area Health Education Center (AHEC) also located at UTHSC will be providing a community asset map for all five counties. The AHEC partners with organizations like Atascosa Health Center to address unmet and disparate health needs of residents through education intervention.

A preliminary summary of the community needs assessment data will be available mid-August for the AHC Board of Directors annual strategy meeting. With additional survey work in late August and final edits, the assessment will be released in late September or early October. The final report will be posted on AHC’s website:atascosahealthcenter.org
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