CARE to report New Haven health survey findings at community forum

The Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) will share the results of a citywide survey that measured the health status and health habits of residents in six of New Haven’s most underserved neighborhoods at a community forum on Saturday, May 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology in New Haven, 4 Science Park. The results will be used to mobilize residents around specific health priorities for their neighborhood. The public meeting is open to everyone and includes a free breakfast and lunch.

Shenell Rogers Tolson, CARE survey administrator (Photo by Jennifer Mandelbaum)

Approximately 1,200 adults in the Dixwell, West River/Dwight, Fair Haven, Hill North, Newhallville, and West Rock/West Hills neighborhoods were interviewed about their personal health and health issues within their community. New Haven residents were hired and trained to administer the surveys. Similar surveys were conducted in 2009 and 2012, and, since then, CARE has supported neighborhood-driven programs in collaboration with the city to improve individual and community health.

The 2015 survey found some encouraging news: 40% of respondents believed that improvements in their neighborhood over the past three years made it easier to lead a healthy lifestyle. Perceptions of public safety also increased since 2009 and 2012. However, the survey shows serious challenges remain. More than 1 in 3 people reported food insecurity (where families did not have enough food or money for food) and 7 in 10 people reported being overweight or obese. Both statistics are well above state and national averages.

Jeannette Ickovics, a YSPH professor and CARE’s director, said the surveys are central to providing reliable information that helps guide the city to improve community health, neighborhood by neighborhood.  “We believe we are seeing some discernible shifts in perceptions about the importance of a healthy diet and exercise,” Ickovics said. “But we know that deeper change will be difficult, and that is why we need local residents to come together at the forum to share their ideas and help develop neighborhood action plans. Together, we can bring this evidence to action to improve health.”

CARE’s survey was sponsored by Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Donaghue Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information about CARE, visit the organization’s website or send email.

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