Gila County Board of Supervisors Work Session
Tuesday May 31, 2016 10:00 AM Gila County Courthouse
Gila County's biggest health priorities are obesity, substance
abuse, access to quality medical care (including mental
health care) and sexual health, according to results of the
2015 Community Health Assessment and the 2016-2020
Community Health Improvement Plan, which were
presented at Tuesday morning's Gila County Board of
Supervisors Work Session.
Director of Health and Emergency Services, Michael
O'Driscoll introduced the presentation, which was given by
Adrienne Udarbe, the Executive Director of Pinnacle
Prevention, a consultant to the county.
The Community Health Assessment was based in part on US
Census data, along with self reporting from respondents,
including 637 interviews with Gila County residents, six
focus groups containing a total of 49 Gila County residents
and 14 interviews with Key Informants.
73% of the respondents were female and most had at least
some college attendance. 76% were white, 15% Hispanic.
25% were from Payson, 36% from Globe, 12% from Tonto
Basin, 6% from Miami and almost 5% from Young. San
Carlos respondents were less than 1%.
Supervisor Tommie Martin said she would like to see the
results of the survey separated into Northern and Southern
Gila County, as the Globe area has a permanent resident
base, while Payson is mostly transient, with many second
homes and people coming and going. Martin was
disappointed in the lack of participation from Payson
residents, and was also concerned about the lack of San
Carlos data, at less than 1% of the total when it accounts for
1/3rd of the population- a problem that was more
pronounced by what she speculated was the needs of San
Carlos residents potentially being very different from the rest
of the County.
Chairman Mike Pastor agreed, and all three supervisors
discussed the need to be directly involved in the next survey
to work toward getting results that would be more reflective
of the population.
The reasons behind the two surveys went beyond Gila
County's desire to ascertain the needs of residents here. The
data is a requirement for many of the grants the County and
cities within it are trying to secure.
The Assessment compared Gila County to similar counties
across America demographically. Population size, growth,
density, mobility, age, gender and race were considered
along with percentages for foreign born, high school
graduates, unemployment, single parent households, home
values, home ownership, household income and poverty
rates, among the major indicators.
Compared to the rest of Arizona, Gila County is older,
whiter, less educated and more unemployed. The percentage
of Native American residents is over three times larger than
elsewhere in the state.
Compared to similar counties across the country, Gila
County residents are significantly more likely to die from
cancer- a statistic that didn't surprise Supervisor John
Marcanti, who cited the area's history of the blowback from
nuclear testing and the spraying of Agent Orange.
Disease rates where Gila County was much higher than
comparative counties included gonorrhea, chlamydia,
diabetes and obesity.
Health behavior outcomes where Gila County fared worse
than comparative counties included high rates of teen
smoking, alcohol and marijuana use and teen pregnancies.
Adult binge drinking and cigarette smoking was somewhat
higher, and physical inactivity significantly higher than
comparative counties. The area is also plagued with low
rates of residents receiving preventative health care.
Almost 20% of Gila County adults below Medicare
eligibility age did not have health insurance. When asked
how to describe their overall health, over 37% rated it very
good, another 37% rated it good and over 11% considered it
excellent. Over 10% rated it fair and only 3% called it poor.
Social factors where Gila County was ranked below similar
counties across the country included a high rate of single
parent households, children living in poverty, inadequate
social support, violent crime and a low rate of home
Regarding Glia County's Environment, it was worse than
similar counties in many indicators including most
significantly child food insecurity and stressed housing. But
the one statistic that caught the attention of KQSS' Jon
Cornell was that only 3% of the residents lived within half a
mile of a park. How could that be, he wondered, when the
county is 97% public land? The answer came in the
definitions controlling the results. Only city and county
parks were considered as parks.
The 14 Key Informants included the City of Globe, various
school districts, First Things First, Head Start, the Cobre
Valley Regional Medical Center, Southwest Behavioral
Health, Horizon, Heritage Health Care, the Globe and Miami
senior centers, and the Tonto Apache Tribe.
The Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center's Neil Jenson,
Evelyn Vargas, Celena Cates and Paula Horn were also in
attendance. Vargas mentioned CVRMC's One Call service,
providing help for virtually all health care needs including
referrals to the specialists and agencies in the area.
O'Driscoll was pleased with the results and announced that
data gathering will continue including annual reports to the
public. Full results of both assessments are online at
LR: Celena Cates, Paula Horn, Adrienne Udarbe, Evelyn
Vargas, Neil Jenson, Michael O'Driscoll