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      Survey will gage Ottumwa's health needs

      Do you want a say in Ottumwa's health resources and programs?

      A survey being conducted this week by the Prevention Research Center for Rural Health, a partnership with the University of Iowa College of Public Health, will give you that chance. The survey began on Monday and residents within the city limits of Ottumwa will be contacted by phone to answer questions about health, exercise and eating habits, as well as views on the community and neighborhood.

      The survey will be used to not only gage Ottumwa's current health issues and challenges, but also to help determine what programs can be put in place in the future to alleviate some of those challenges and issues.

      Ottumwa was selected for this survey due to its similarity to other Iowa communities and its community receptiveness for change and improvement.

      "[We] really came to realize that while there are pressing health issues, like there are everywhere in the country, and certainly, Ottumwa has the same or similar health issues as other communities in Iowa, that there also was a great infrastructure of people who are already concerned and are already working on these issues, that we could build off of to do our work," said Dr. Edith Parker, Director of the Prevention Research Center.

      The Center partnered with several entities in the Ottumwa community, including the Ottumwa School District, SEIDA, ISU Extension, Indian Hills Community College, Wapello County Public Health, Iowa Workforce Development and the United Way of Wapello County. Dr. Parker said those relationships added context to the survey; providing information on the area and what questions would be relevant.

      The United Way of Wapello County includes health as one of their top advocacy issues and is happy to partner with the Prevention Research Center.

      "We've been very proud to partner with Dr. Parker and her team from the research center," said Desiree Johnson, President and CEO of the United Way of Wapello County. "We are hoping to address future programs that will make our community a better place."

      The survey takes between 30 and 40 minutes to complete and can be taken in English or Spanish. It is completely voluntary and compensation will be provided.