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Looking to the Health of Our Community in 2011


Walla Walla County has released its 2010 Community Health Report, an annual assessment of the health of our community. With 22 categories the report provides a picture fo the county's healthy areas and those that are in danger.

Walla Walla General Hospital uses the results of the annual report to assess the community health education programs and classes that are offered throughout the year. Last year WWGH offered 308 community health events that served nearly 2,000 people. But that's not enough, according to Sharryl Toews, community health education coordinator at WWGH. "We need to make sure we're providing vital health information and helping to fill the gaps in education and care."

The report identifies several areas under the "critical" or "caution" marks that are of particular interest to the hospital. The rates of first-trimester prenatal care have dropped, and reported childhood immunization rates are lower than in the rest of the state. Teen and adult obesity rates and teen physical activity are also higher than goals set by the federal government.

"These are important health risks and we hope to make a positive impact in these areas through our programs in 2011," says Toews.

Areas of improvement this year include adults with diabetes, adult smoking rates, and the number of adults with a personal health care provider. WWGH has worked hard on these areas, including maintaining a robust Diabetes Center, working with Providence St. Mary Medical Center to offer free smoking classes and initiate tobacco free hospital campuses. In addition, over the last two years, WWGH has added six new primary care physicians to its medical group.