Wren ’14 Spends Summer Learning Community Health

Luke Wren ’14 – My internship has been a tremendous opportunity to better understand the problems and perceptions of local “townie” residents in Montgomery County. My job has been to assist the epidemiologist in charge of the Crawfordsville hospital’s county health assessment by asking Montgomery County residents to complete surveys. These surveys can be completed online, by paper, even by smart phone. The surveys come in both English and Spanish. The surveys are divided into four main sections, including Community Issues, Community Services, Health Issues, and Health-Related Services.

More women fill out surveys than men; therefore, the data is separated based on age, gender, race/ethnicity, and income. Although totals have not been counted, it seems in Montgomery County residents perceive teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and underage alcohol consumption as community problems. Additionally, the majority of people who fill out the surveys are earning less than $25,000 annually. The fact that these surveys are anonymous really give one insight into how many Montgomery County residents are suffering through these economic times, and people are far more open with personal problems that they have in their life. Many discuss problems of depression and anxiety along with less serious problems like high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

After reading through and entering hundreds of surveys, many people in our community do not ‘like’ or ‘support’ the local hospital and would rather take their families elsewhere.  This, to me, is very bothersome; I believe a small community like Crawfordsville needs a reliable hospital with a wide range of services. I have learned a lot about the personal problems and frustrations many locals have to deal with on a daily basis. It is very troublesome to see so many single mothers who make very little money and suffer from anxiety and depression. I think these surveys and the report the data will create will give the local hospital a better understanding of what it needs to do to improve its reputation in the community and how they could alter their services to better serve those in need.

In the near future I will be helping Dr. Shen to interpret and compile the data so it can be use to create a easy to understand report. I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment, Inc for this opportunity to help the local community that I have grown up in and continue to reside in. I hope my assistance has been helpful in improving the lives of Montgomery County residents. I believe this report will show areas of need and will allow for a better understanding into how to tackle these problems.

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