A Health Assessment

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) as a systematic, comprehensive data collection and analysis that provides benefits such as improved organizational and community coordination and collaboration, better knowledge about public health and the ways it connects with other activities.

Of course, as it identifies strengths and weaknesses it puts a spotlight on where to focus.

There are many benefits, but one of the biggest outputs of a Community Health Needs Assessment is that it can provide a community with a portrait of its overall health and readiness to remain healthy and/or address problems.

The recently completed CHNA in Sharon Hospital’s service area in Litchfield County and Dutchess County under the auspices of Nuvance Health, identified chronic disease, mental health and substance-use disorders as the top health issues affecting residents.

The work was overseen by a committee that included representatives of communities in both Connecticut and New York State, and included  hospital Board leadership, administrative leadership from the Nuvance Health network, local health department directors, community stakeholders, and other key hospital stakeholders.

Our coverage of this important survey by Debra Aleksinas in a front page story last week illustrated both commonalities and differences among populations in Connecticut’s Northwest Corner and those who live in eastern Dutchess County.

The population on both sides of the border is expected to grow marginally, but that growth also is expected to show a much sharper rise in the number  of people 65 and older.

We are graying. If you look around, you can see that.

And the conclusion of the assessment is that we will need services that support healthy aging, and aging-in-place.

Chronic diseases — such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, arthritis, and chronic lung disease — are identified as a prime focus for attention, along with promotion of well-being and prevention of mental health and substance use disorders.

Focus groups are planned to ensure that the community is heard. They will include food pantries, representatives of the medical community, churches and nonprofit agencies, as well as health districts and community members. In other words, as the CDC sees it, to provide benefits such as improved organizational and community collaboration.

We all should be grateful that our community is looking out for its own well-being.

Latest News

Theresa Marie Murtagh

MILLERTON — Theresa Marie Murtagh, 74, a thirty year resident of Poughkeepsie, and most recently a twenty year resident of Millerton, died unexpectedly on Feb. 13, 2024, at Sharon Hospital. Mrs. Murtagh was a retired secretary, having worked for Marine Midland Bank in Wappingers Falls, She also worked as a secretary for a medical laboratory in Poughkeepsie for many years.

Born Nov. 12, 1949, in Sharon, she was the daughter of the late James O. and Mary F. (Canevari) Hoysradt. She graduated with the class of 1967 from Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Pougkeepsie. She then studied business at Dutchess Community College. On Nov. 8, 1969, at St. Patrick’s Church in Millerton, she married Joseph P. Murtagh. Mr. Murtagh survives at home in Millerton.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joan Baez coming to The Triplex
Joan Baez
Frederic Legrand/Shutterstock

The Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, is gearing up for an event Saturday, March 2, with a screening of “I Am a Noise” and a talkback featuring two of the film’s directors, Miri Navasky and Karen O’Connor, alongside a special appearance by the subject of the documentary herself — the legendary Joan Baez.

“I Am a Noise” began filming in 2013 and took many years to complete. Navasky and O’Connor, longtime collaborators, paused production for a time to work on another film, “Growing Up Trans,” for the PBS documentary series “Frontline.” They resumed work on the Baez film when she announced her farewell tour in 2017.

Keep ReadingShow less
Student art show shines with contemporary talent

Gabe Heebner, a senior at HVRHS, was awarded “Best in Show” at the student art show at the KAA on Saturday, Feb. 10.

Leila Hawken

Now well into its 101st year of serving the community, the nonprofit Kent Art Association (KAA) opened its 32nd annual student art show Saturday, Feb. 10, attracting student artists, their teachers and the arts community to celebrate the wealth of young talent being nurtured in area public and private schools.

Participating in this year’s show were students from seven area schools, including Millbrook (New York) High School, Housatonic Valley Regional High School (HVRHS), Forman School, Marvelwood School, The Frederick Gunn School, The Hotchkiss School and The Kent School.

Keep ReadingShow less