ECU Researchers Begin Community Health Needs Survey

Jul 13, 2018

Credit ECU News Services

East Carolina University researchers are conducting a survey to assess community health needs in Pitt and Onslow counties.  Jared Brumbaugh has more.

Researchers in the cardiovascular sciences and psychology departments will use data collected from the survey to better understand health care needs and access to care in Eastern North Carolina, which has a high rate of premature natural deaths due to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  

“The Lincoln Project is especially interested in preventing mortality in communities east of Interstate 95,” said Dr. Jessica Ford, Assistant Professor in East Carolina University’s Department of Psychology and Cardiovascular Sciences.  “We’re hoping to instead of just looking at the most prominent contributors to poor health, to look more specifically at specific communities because it can be different depending on where you live.  In one community, there might be limited access to healthcare whereas in another community, their physical activity is really poor because they don’t have walkable sidewalks or access to other things that are conducive to physical activities.”

100 letters were recently sent to residents in Pitt and Onslow counties asking about access to healthcare and their individual health, such as physical activity and whether they smoke or use alcohol.   The survey also asked what types of healthcare are needed in their community. 

“There’s a lot of years of life lost.  A lot of that is due to cardiovascular disease and also diabetes.  We’re trying to get ahead of that and develop some preventive intervention.”

In the coming weeks, 6,000-10,000 additional letters to residents who live in rural and more populated areas in Pitt and Onslow counties.  The Lincoln Project will eventually expand to include 29 Eastern North Carolina counties, Ford said.

“If you receive a letter, we want to hear your voice… We want to learn about the things that you think might be helpful in your community.  So there’s an opportunity coming with a survey, and then we’re going to ask people about their willingness to participate in interviews.  So if you receive a letter, please reach out and let us know your opinions.”