Local health care providers met to discuss health problems that are prevalent in Richmond County and how to counteract those problems at the 2013 Richmond County Public Health Summit Tuesday night at the Cole Auditorium.
Health Director of the Richmond County Health Department, Tommy Jarrell, said the summit was a collaborative effort between Southern Regional AHEC, or Area Health Education Center, the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sandhills Community Care Network and the Richmond County Health Department.
“It was a really good summit. We had really good attendance,” Jarrell said.
Many health care providers attended the event including representatives from FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital and Sandhills Regional Medical Center, Richmond County Board of Health members, staff and providers from Richmond County Health Department and representatives from Sandhills Community Care Network.
The summit presented “local data concerning the health status of Richmond County,” said Jarrell.
The main presenters of the summit were Dr. Robin Cummings, medical director of Community Care of the Sandhills and John Graham, adjunct professor at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“I thought it was terrific,” said Graham. “The information shared and the discussions afterward were great,” he said.
Graham said it was a very useful event and got all of the members of the health care community talking.
The meeting objectives were to inform participants about Richmond County community health status, inform participants about CCS practice performance status, solicit ideas for interventions to improve practice, performance and community health status, identify priority interventions and to identify provider opportunities to participate in priority interventions.
The summit looked at the population, poverty rate, unemployment rate and the uninsured rate of Richmond County and compared those statistics to neighboring counties.
The statistics were about the death rate and ages of those deaths caused by cancer, lung, bronchus and trachea cancer, prostate cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, suicide, diabetes and HIV.
Many of the slides from the slide show presentation showed Richmond County as having the most deaths or the second most deaths caused by those factors.
Jarrell said that lung cancer is the number one type of cancer in Richmond County and that smoking is the number one risk factor for causing lung cancer.
The slides also showed neonatal death rates and gonorrhea rates for Richmond County and said that the “leading causes of mortality in Richmond County are chronic diseases.”
Those in attendance also attempted to answer questions such as why residents are going to the emergency room when they can go to their regular doctor.
Graham said that some of the discussion included talking about obesity and obesity prevention and possibly introducing psychological counseling into primary care offices.
Some of the prevention services named at the summit were FirstQuit-Quit Tobacco Program, NC QuitLine, The Happy Kitchen, Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center, Richmond County Cooperative Extension and People Live Active Year-round or PLAY.
“It was a lot of information,” Jarrell said.
He said he hopes that “it goes well beyond what happened last night,” but it is too early to tell if the summit will become an annual event.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.