Paint a Picture of Health in Your Community
The City of Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services (DPHCS) conducted a community-based survey in 2020 and invited Greater Nashua residents to tell us what they thought the biggest health priorities were in their communities and about their COVID-19 experiences. This information will be used to help us identify areas to improve upon in the next three years during our 2021-2024 Community Health Improvement Planning (CHIP) process.
A 10-15 minute, online survey was distributed widely throughout the Greater Nashua community via social media, community networks and physical posted flyers. The survey was available in both English and Spanish. There were 280 community members that participated in the survey, about 4% of whom chose to respond in Spanish. Completing the survey qualified respondents to win a $25 gift card, and the survey was open from April through October 2020.
The Community Portrait research project was originally designed as a series of in-person, focus group sessions to be held across the Greater Nashua region throughout the summer of 2020. Research design began in January, 2020, and when the COVID-19 pandemic called for social distancing, we had to adjust our research design to accommodate online data collection. With the switch to an online survey based design, we modified our questions from a semi-structured interview design to a survey design. Our demographic questions were guided by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Inclusive Demographic Data Collection guide located here. Our general health priority questions were guided by the American Hospital Association’s Community Health Assessment Toolkit located here.
The majority of survey respondents were Nashua residents (73.6%), but the remaining 26% of respondents were distributed throughout the Greater Nashua region. About 18% of respondents identify within the constructs of racial or ethnic diversity, and the remaining 82% of participants identified as white or caucasian.
One of the main objective of this research was to determine the biggest health concerns in the community in order to determine community health priorities. The research shows that right now, most people are concerned about behavioral health (including substance use, mental health, and suicide), affordable and accessible healthcare, and outbreaks of communicable disease (40%, 30%, and 26% of respondents, respectively). In regards to upcoming concerns for the next three years, most people are concerned about behavioral health (including substance use, mental health, and suicide), affordable and accessible healthcare, and outbreaks of communicable disease (38.6%, 36.1%, and 25.4% of respondents, respectively).
Greater Nashua Areas of Focus
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory illness. Novel coronaviruses, like SARS, MERS, and COVID-19, are coronaviruses that jumped the animal to human species barrier. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation and the City of Nashua, including the Nashua DPHCS, is doing its best to keep the Greater Nashua Community informed.
For more information on COVID-19 in Greater Nashua, visit our COVID-19 Update page below.
Lead Poisoning Prevention
Lead is a toxic metal that occurs in environments both inside and outside the home. Lead poisoning occurs when too much lead gets into the body through the skin, breathing, eating, or drinking. Lead builds up in the body, usually over a course of months or years, becoming toxic. High levels of lead in the body can harm the brain, damage speech and hearing, and result in learning and behavior problems. Soil, paints, toys, and spices may all contain levels of lead that are unsafe for children.
Children aged six and younger are at highest risk for lead poisoning because they can absorb lead more easily than older kids and adults, and due to ongoing brain development, lead is more harmful to them. Blood lead level testing is highly recommended for children one and two years of age, as well as children aged three to six who have not been previously tested.
For more information on lead poisoning prevention in Greater Nashua, visit the 2020 Community Health Assessment Healthy Homes page below.
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Exercising and moving your body on a regular basis has been shown to have countless health benefits, including improvement in mental health, life expectancy, and risk of adverse health outcomes. Physical activity and exercise can also help you manage stress, feel connected to the community, and appreciate all that your body can do. What physical activity means to you may be different than what it means to your friends and neighbors. The most effective way to practice physical activity is to listen to your body and move in ways that help you feel healthy and strong.
For more information on Physical Activity in Greater Nashua, visit the 2020 Community Health Assessment Physical Activity page below.
Public Health Emergency Preparedness
Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) relies on the whole community in order to advance preparedness. From natural disasters to terrorism, all crises have the potential to negatively impact public health. The goal of PHEP is to increase a community’s ability to respond in an efficient manner to incidents in order to preserve health and wellbeing. There are 15 functional areas that encompass PHEP as outlined in the CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Capabilities.
For more information on Public Health Emergency Preparedness in Greater Nashua, visit the 2020 Community Health Assessment Public Health Emergency Preparedness page below.
Access to Care
Increasing access to healthcare is essential to increasing the health of communities, expanding health equity, and increasing quality of life. Access to healthcare is not limited to having health insurance, it includes being able to access services through timely appointments, finding healthcare providers that the patient can communicate with, accessing the treatments or testing needed to maintain or increase health, and being able to understand health information that is being provided.
For more information on Access to Care in Greater Nashua, visit the 2020 Community Health Assessment Access to Care page below.