Mount Nittany Health will be partnered with the Centre County Partnership for Community Health for a new type of talk to asses community health needs on Monday.
Both organizations hosted the first annual health needs summit at Mount Nittany Medical Center bringing together community leaders, healthcare providers and human service professionals to identify and begin finding solutions to gaps in local healthcare, Mount Nittany Health Nathan Elliott said.
The primary goal of the partnership was to develop a plan to assist Centre County residents in obtaining optimal healthcare to better their quality of life, Health Officer for the Borough of State College, Ferguson Township, Patton Township and College Township and member of the Centre County Partnership for Community Health Kevin Kassab said.
The summit hopes to identify health issues and the overall health of the community, Assistant Administrator for Drug & Alcohol of the Centre County Drug and Alcohol Office and member of the Centre County Partnership for Community Health Cathy Arbogast said.
The conversations and qualitative data from people giving feedback, sharing ideas and talking about their concerns were bonuses to the event, Arbogast said.
The summit started with an opening assembly and remarks, Elliot said. Then, attendees circulated through five rounds of caucus sessions to discuss topics that reflected a major need determined by interviews and surveys, Elliot said.
The summit was complemented with a survey on whether or not people are aware of needs or gaps in the healthcare in the Centre Region, Elliot said.
“The community partners that came today have just as much vested interest in the health and welfare of students as the rest of the residents of Centre County,” Arbogast said. “While students might not be living here long--term we need to partner with students while they’re here.”
The takeaway point for faculty member of the Department of Labor and Employment Relations, Billie S. Willits, Ph.D., was that the community needs to not only understand what health and well-being mean, but also how to change their behaviors to reach and maintain a healthy living style.
“As a faculty member I routinely interact with students and realize that their health and well-being can make all the difference for them as they’re studying and getting ready for their careers,” Willits said.
This summit was the first of what might become a semi-annual event to build a conduit for communication and for medical leaders to keep their fingers on the pulse of what health needs are in this region over time, Elliott said.