Boone County community health survey

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COLUMBIA - Boone County's Public Health and Human Services department is conducting a community health survey for 2018. The department does this every five years as part of its community health assessment. 

Once the results are in, the department will craft programs based on the public's biggest health concerns. The survey also asks questions about community issues, such as homelessness, public transit and mental health. One question in the survey is "what are the greatest strengths of your community?" 

"The survey is the best way for us to gather public opinion on health priorities directly from our Boone County residents," said community relations specialist Eric Stann. 

For each age group, it asks respondents to choose three areas the community should focus on for the group. 

George Smith is a former MU biology professor, and has lived in Columbia for 43 years. Smith said Columbia does a great job of making the arts and culture accessible for the public. 

"The Ragtag Cinema Cafe is a huge city cultural resource," Smith said. "It's very community centered. That's so rare in movie theaters, even independent movie theaters in other towns aren't community gathering places." 

Smith said cheap prices and various community groups make the arts readily available in Columbia. 

One issue Smith said he wants the county to address is homelessness. 

"Something that breaks my heart is the homeless people that I see in town." Smith said. "It's just inexcusable that there are people like this in a prosperous town."

The answers will be confidential, and the survey doesn't ask for personal health information. 

Live Well Boone County and Build this Town Campaign for the Agriculture Park are assisting the department in carrying out the survey. Digital copies are available online via Survey Monkey, and hard copies can be found at the health and human services office at 1005 W Worley Street.  

The county made the survey available on Thursday, and the department said around 900 people have already responded. The county's goal is to get over 2000 respondents. The survey is open until March 16, and results will be made public in the summer.