Assessment and diagnosis have been used in different situations in order to come up with effective strategies improving the quality of life. In the health sector, assessments and diagnosis are important in identifying and containing many health-related problems. They provide a referencing base for decisions made in order to improve the existing health infrastructure. In this paper, I conduct an assessment to uncover a community’s health problem, identify the components of the problem related to the community’s dynamics, and map out the best strategies to contain the problem.
Midlahd Beach Community
I carried out a Windshield survey in the Midland Beach community. Midland Beach is located in Staten Island, New York, and it is found in community district number 2 in the borough. The reason why I chose this community was that it was located near my workplace and it was convenient for me to walk or drive while administering my survey. This community has different age ranges, with majority of people being White and Hispanic. English is the most spoken language, although Spanish and Russian are also common (Jacob & Jay, 2011)
Majority of people belong to the middle class, with about 32% being employed in executive and management positions. However, poverty is still widespread there. The area has three public schools, two religious schools, and three Catholic churches. The economy of this community is highly dependent on fast food restaurants, as well as small businesses located on the Main road (Leiyu et al, 2010, pg178-181).
Staten Island covers an area of 2.187 square miles, with a population of about 16,680 people. Population density at Midland Beach is about 7627 people per square mile. A survey in 2011 has shown that household income in Midland Beach was $73,158 as compared to New York’s $55,246. Population of male was 11,613 with the median age of 36.8 years, while that of female was 8,264 with the median age of 40.1 years. The percentage of married couples with children among households was 30.7%, as compared to New York’s 54.1%. The percentage of people born in the state was 65.8%, as compared to New York’s 63.6%. Percentage of males as health care practitioners and those in technical occupations was 4.2%, as compared to New York’s 3.0%, while that of women in the same capacity is 10.8% in Midland, as compared with New York’s 8.5%. The percentage of population below poverty level was 6.0%, as compared to New York’s 16.0% (city-data.com). The community has a very high number of people who smoke tobacco, with a figure of about 21% smokers, as compared to New York’s 16% (Leiyu et al, 2010, pg178-181).
Using these data, we can conclude that Midland Beach is an area that is performing above average as compared to the state. On average, the living standard of people living in Midland Beach seems to be higher than the one of the entire state of New York. However, the main problem that exists is that there are many tobacco smokers in the area (Robert et al, 2012).
According to the Windshield survey that I carried out during my first assignment, I found out that the community setting in Midland Beach is mostly urban and coastal, with people living a good quality life despite the Superstorm Sandy, which had destroyed many homes along the shore. There are three public schools, a boardwalk, two public parks, three churches, and two religious schools. There are only two main hospitals located in the county; they are Staten University Hospital, North and South campuses, located in the South beach area, and Richmod University hospital. There are also many outpatient clinics that provide services to people with no insurance coverage and to those who do not have a private physician. I discovered that 21% of the population in the county is smokers and that the main health concerns of the population are lung and cardiac diseases such as COPD and CAD. Many people in the county have fallen victims to these health problems and they do not seem to understand the reason behind the rising cases of these ailments (Robert et al, 2012).
From assessment of the data that I acquired, I identified tobacco smoking as the priority problem. The effects of tobacco smoking are directly affecting the health conditions of the residents of that area. Tobacco smoking has being identified as the main cause of cancer in many parts of the body, as well as a trigger for heart diseases and lung diseases like emphysema and bronchitis. The effect of tobacco smoking goes beyond the smoker as innocent people are exposed to second-hand smoke, whose effects are as severe as the first-hand smoke. This predicament is reflected in the rate of lung and cardiac problems in the county. With the 21% of its population smoking tobacco, Staten Island is one of the largest tobacco smoking counties, surpassing the states 16% and the country’s 19% rates (Jacob et al, 2011).
Reducing tobacco usage is in line with the Healthy People 2020 Objectives
According to Robert et al (2011), anti-tobacco policies aim at reducing illness, disability, and death related to tobacco usage and second-hand smoke exposure. Other health problems that are caused by the smoking include premature birth, infant birth, stillbirth, asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, cancer of the larynx, mouth, and lungs. Tobacco use, killing about 443,000 people per year and affecting many more, is the most common preventable death cause in the United States. In the Healthy People 2020 Objectives, the national government is reducing tobacco use through funding tobacco control programs, limiting tobacco access, reducing tobacco advertisement and promotion, increasing price of tobacco products, enacting strict policies on smoking, conducting media campaigns, and encouraging and assisting tobacco users to stop smoking. Implementing these strategies will greatly help in reducing the effects of smoking in Staten Island County, hence reducing the rate of lung and cardiac problems in the county (Jacob et al, 2011).
Tobacco smoking in the United States was considered the kind of a traditional ritual with a prayer being sent to God informing him of a puff of smoke. Tobacco farming in the United States started in 1865 in North Carolina to become a multibillion business. Smoking became habitual and there were no regulations or legal smoking age. It was seen as an elite habit, which indicated a certain social status. Health risks were not an issue at that time, since no one was informed about it. In 1940s, medical tests of tobacco raised suspicions that it could cause serious health risks (Barnes et al, 1995, pg248-253).
Tobacco manufacturing companies had been reluctant to accept the fact that tobacco smoking caused multiple health problems, including cancer. As scientific evidence of health risks associated with smoking went out of hand in early 1950s, the manufacturing companies, in order to remain in the market,did a pro-cigarette campaign to mislead the public on smoking dangers. It was only in 1998 that the tobacco manufacturing companies were compelled to sign the Master Settlement Agreement, which required them to alter their change in marketing strategies and dissolve their research organizations. With no other options, the companies accepted that smoking was responsible for the said health complications and sensitized the smokers about that fact (Malone et al, 2000, pg334).
Tobacco smoking remains a major challenge to the health sector by causing very many health complications, including heart and lung problems. One major worry about tobacco smoking is that it is a risk to the entire population, since the non-smokers are often subjected to second-hand smoke. One of the major direct factors contributing to smoking is lack of government initiative to curb the vice owing to the large amount of money the tobacco industry contributes to the economy. Indirectly, many smokers still believe that tobacco products do not pose serious health problems; hence, they are reluctant to quit smoking. State and federal, governments should join their efforts in enacting stiffer policies to ensure that tobacco smoking is not a national problem anymore.
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