(COLLEGE STATION, TX) – The Brazos Valley Health Partnership (BVHP) and the Center for Community Health Development (CCHD) at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (HSC) School of Rural Public Health are conducting a population health status assessment in the Brazos Valley.

The assessment process depends upon community participation in a household survey and community discussion groups. Community members in Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, Washington and Waller counties will begin to be contacted by mail about taking the survey the week of Feb. 8, followed up by a phone call the next week.

The BVHP and CCHD will conduct their third Brazos Valley Health Status Assessment this spring. The assessment will measure the health of Brazos Valley residents and identify factors contributing to the health of local communities. It consists of a household survey, community discussion groups and an examination of existing data from various other sources.

From Feb. 8 through mid-March, letters from CCHD and BVHP will be mailed to randomly selected local residents requesting participation in the household survey. ETC Institute, a survey administrator contracted by CCHD, will make follow-up phone calls after the letters are sent to directly ask residents about their willingness to participate in the survey. If the resident agrees to take the survey, the survey will be mailed to the resident and include a self-addressed stamped envelope for its return.

In addition to the survey, CCHD will conduct community discussion groups beginning in March and concluding in May. These discussions will be in several communities in each county to capture information difficult to obtain in a survey format, and more information will be made available in March.

Following the 2002 and 2006 health assessments, Brazos Valley organizations and communities used the assessment data to build community support and bring in significant funding to develop and improve health infrastructure and access to care. Local initiatives have focused on issues like rural transportation options, mental health services, health technology, service coordination, small business health coverage, and medication assistance.

Assessment findings will be released in September 2010 at a community regional health summit.

Sponsors include the CCHD, HSC, HSC-School of Rural Public Health, Brazos Valley Council of Governments, Brazos Valley Community Action Agency, College Station Medical Center, Trinity Medical Center, St. Joseph Health System, United Way, Workforce Solutions, Burleson St. Joseph Health Center, Madison St. Joseph Health Center, Waller County, City of Bryan Community Development Program and City of College Station Community Development Program.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell