GONZALES — City of Gonzales commissioned the Monterey County Health Department to conduct a health assessment to objectively examine the status of health and well-being in the community and opportunities for improving community health.
Findings were presented to the city in a report, “City of Gonzales 2020 Chartbook of Health and Well-being.” The recent assessment was a followup to the health assessment the County Health Department conducted for the city in 2012, which gave the city a baseline and overall understanding of health needs to begin to develop programs and initiatives to improve health services in the community.
“It is exciting to see we have improved in many areas since 2012,” said Gonzales Mayor Jose Rios. “Continuing to assess where we are, how we are doing and what more can be done is important. The Chartbook highlights various opportunities to work with our residents, private sector partners, and other agencies and organizations to continue to improve health services for our community.”
In addition to current general population and socio-economic characteristic data, the report includes sections about access to health care, communicable and chronic disease, health behaviors, mental health, public safety, social determinants and community assets, and a summary of recommendations to support improving community health.
Throughout the report, Gonzales’ statistics are compared to statistics in Monterey County and California.
Positive or promising outcomes listed in the report include 95% high school graduation rate in 2018-19; an increase in health insurance coverage for adults 18-64, from 67% in 2014 to 85% in 2018; and 94% of Gonzales kindergarteners received the recommended immunizations at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, an increase from 88.8% the year before.
Other areas that were positive include a low percentage of adults diagnosed with chronic disease, such as asthma and heart disease; a greater percentage of adults taking regular walks; and teen cigarette use in Gonzales High School is nearly nonexistent.
There were outcomes where city residents fared poorly compared to the county and/or state, including a greater percentage of adults regularly consume sugar-sweetened beverages compared to adults in the county and state, and obesity rates exceed that of the county and state.
“By better understanding our data, we can address more of the issues our community faces and develop programs that fulfill our population’s specific needs and continue to set a standard for high performing outcomes,” Rios said.
Various recommendations for improving community health are outlined in the report, including developing a regional partnership to improve access to healthcare specialists, implementing a Community Health Worker program to provide systems to connect residents with health resources, continuing to build partnerships that bring well-paying job opportunities and prioritizing actions linked with policies in the city’s Health and Wellness Element of the General Plan.
The report also suggests the city could continue to support healthy community development and the health of its residents by adopting a Health Equity in All Policies (HEiAP) resolution.
HEiAP is a collaborative approach that integrates and articulates health considerations into policymaking across sectors to improve health. It recognizes that health is created by a multitude of factors beyond healthcare and in many cases, beyond the scope of traditional public health activities.
To read the “2020 Chartbook of Health and Well-being” report, go to the City of Gonzales website https://bit.ly/3mclZ8O.