The county could be looking for 15 minutes of your time to help with the future of public health services.
Oxford County launched its Health Matters Survey on Tuesday, which will ask selected households to participate in a 15-minute phone survey, asking questions that relate to topics that are considered valuable in developing public health programs in new and emerging areas based on the needs of the community.
Some of the topics will include hot button issues like air quality, mental health and the use of electronic cigarettes, as well as flu vaccinations, Lyme disease and neighbourhood design.
In total, there are 11 categories – or modules – that residents will be asked about during the survey.
The survey is aimed at adults aged 18 and over, but extra effort is being made to connect with younger adults under the age of 30. Residents who are selected will receive a letter from Medical Officer of Health Dr. Douglas Neal, which will explain the survey.
Epidemiologist Hilary Caldarelli said they chose to cover these areas because they are currently topical in public health and will give them a sense of how they can tailor their services for the community.
“There’s a lot of different things going on in the province and we have a unique population here,” she said. “We just want to make sure that we know everyone in Oxford County’s views on a variety of things and health topics.”
Manager of foundational standards Ruth Sanderson added that there is a lot of data sources that public health use, but the topics covered in the survey don’t have other data sources available.
“Having really good information for planning our public health programs is really important to us,” Sanderson said. “We do have other data sources, but these are the areas that are emerging in public health and we really need additional information in order to plan those programs.”
Sanderson added that they are really keen to anticipate health issues in the public, adding that the survey will give them a good idea of what people are thinking about some of these issues.
Director of public health Lynn Beath said that they haven’t held a survey like this in approximately 10 years, adding that they felt there were enough issues at this time to invest in carrying out a survey.
“We’ll have to reassess once we see what type of information we get out of it in this round and look for other opportunities in the future,” Beath said. “Whether it’s this type of survey or other ways of getting the information.
“There were just a few things that were occurring at the same time that we felt we needed some more information on,” she added. “The time was right for us to do it and be able to go forward. It’s something we will look at in the future as well.”
Beath said that once the survey is completed in December, public health will release its findings to the public early next year and begin working on their program planning with the new information.
“We really are working towards making sure that we build things on evidence and form practice and this is one of the ways we get that evidence,” she said. “People may not see it immediately being put into practice, but we’ll start to look at all of that information as we go through and prioritize what we need to do and form the plans.”
More information about the survey can be found on the county’s website at www.oxfordcounty.ca.