POLK COUNTY -- Polk United, a coalition of area medical centers, government agencies and nonprofits committed to the health of Polk County residents, has launched its community health needs assessment.  This assessment takes place every three years.

“Over the next month, Polk United will be asking county residents to complete a health needs survey to help our healthcare providers better understand the needs of the people they serve,” said Brian Kaczmarski, director of the Polk County Public Health department. “After the survey is completed, we will be inviting interested residents to join us for focus groups in upcoming months so the coalition can gain additional context regarding citizens’ most pressing health issues.”

Polk currently ranks 39th of 72 Wisconsin counties in terms of health outcomes. This compares favorably to Burnett (ranked 60th) and Washburn (67th), but is well below the rankings of St. Croix (6th) and Barron (18th) counties.

Kaczmarski said that Polk United has set a goal of 1,500 completed survey responses and 100 focus group attendees. “Participation is crucial, so we’re offering incentives. All those completing a survey can enter a drawing for prizes that include a FitBit fitness tracker, gas card, and Subway gift card.”

Printed surveys are available at the front desks of each of the county’s three medical centers as well as at the Government Center in Balsam Lake. To fill out the survey online, go to https://tinyurl.com/y9gybhhq or use the following QR code:

The community health needs assessment informs planning efforts of area medical centers and other health-related organizations within the county. “This is a great opportunity for Polk County citizens to help us identify emerging issues affecting health and well-being,” said Jessica Neumann, Community Impact Director at United Way. “The current community health improvement plan focuses on mental health, obesity, and substance abuse. Those who participate in the survey and focus groups will help prioritize Polk United’s efforts over the next several years.”

Polk United, which has been in existence since 2013, is committed to improving the health and well-being of Polk County residents. The coalition’s membership includes Amery Hospital and Clinics, the Mental Health Task Force of Polk County, the Polk County Public Health Department, Osceola Medical Center, St. Croix Regional Medical Center, UW Cooperative Extension, the United Way St. Croix Valley, as well as a number of other organizations.

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