Carter County sets health priorities

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CARTER COUNTY, OK -- Deana Tharp is 1 of about 50 people who showed up to the Carter County community health improvement meeting.

"Just be a better community overall, and I'm just interested in seeing how we can accomplish that," said Tharp.

The first step was to share results from assessments and surveys completed over the last 6 months. They asked respondents about health habits, how they pay for care and the quality of life in the county.
Tobacco use, obesity and access to care were just a few of the many concerns, but health department administrator Mendy Spohn said they want to focus their energy on the biggest issues.

"The community voted on the top priorities, heath priorities, for Carter County," said Spohn.

They dropped marbles in jars to vote on for 11 different health concerns. The top five vote getters were teens, obesity, mental health, adverse childhood events and substance abuse.

Spohn assigned leaders to spearhead each topic.

"They will be working over the next six months developing a task force to address those issues and to make sure that we have plans, goals, objectives," Spohn said.

Tharp hopes that plan won't just be another drop in the bucket.

"We just need to focus on the whole person and how we can better that in the community," said Tharp.

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