Community health needs addressed at ‘Cortland Counts’ Forum

Karen Dudgeon, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Cortland County, discusses the connection between childhood trauma and overall health later in life (Peter Blanchard/Cortland Voice).wa

CORTLAND, N.Y. — About 100 people attended the Cortland Counts Community Forum Wednesday at Grace Christian Fellowship Church in Cortland.

The annual serves as one component of an ongoing assessment of the health and well-being of Cortland County residents, covering everything from education and socioeconomics to access to food and affordable housing.

Since 2001, five local organizations—including Seven Valleys Health Coalition, Cortland County Health Department, Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, the SUNY Cortland Institute for Civic Engagement, and the United Way for Cortland County—have come together to form a Community Assessment Team to identify the greatest health needs of Cortland County.

The team’s efforts result in an annual publication known as the Cortland Counts Report Card—which provides statistics for the health and well-being of Cortland County—as well as the more comprehensive Cortland Counts Report, a 175-page document issued every four years. The data is collected using local, state and national databases, and assessments from local focus groups.

The 2018 Cortland Counts Report Card will be released later this year, but some of the team’s findings in 2018 include:

  • 7.4 percent of people live in mobile homes
  • 15.3 percent of children are living below poverty level
  • 6.9 percent of high school students drop out
  • 2.5 percent of the population have low-income and low-access to a supermarket or large grocery store

Both reports are ultimately used by local agencies and organizations for assessment, planning, and grant writing.