What Ails Us?

Editor’s note: Read more about Evansville’s health in the full feature story.

Collective health care priorities for Evansville’s major providers have generally remained consistent since the early 2010s — with mental health and substance abuse remaining a focal point, as well as issues surrounding nutrition and weight.

Those concerns persisted even as the local health care community became immersed in the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. Evansville Business examined the community health needs assessment in 2022, assembled by Deaconess Health System, ECHO Community Healthcare, Ascension St. Vincent Evansville, United Way of Southwestern Indiana, Vanderburgh County Health Department, and Welborn Baptist Foundation, as well as similar reports from prior years to see how top-tier health priorities have evolved in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.

Reports for 2019 in both Vanderburgh and Warrick counties listed “substance abuse” as a priority issue. Although that topic is not specifically named as a top concern in 2022 documents for the two counties, it’s worth noting that “behavioral health” is, and that term often encompasses substance abuse, as well as mental health in a broader context.

“Maternal child health” — so-called in the 2022 priorities roundup for Vanderburgh County — has received periodic attention as a top health care issue, according to the reports.

Infant mortality is defined as a death before the first birth- day, and infant mortality rates are estimates of the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. State data would appear to support this being a concern in Vanderburgh: In 2021, the county’s infant mortality rate was 5.2 per 1,000 live births. Among Black residents, it was 19.1 in the preceding four years, the second-highest number in the state. Perinatal risks and congenital anomalies were the largest causes of those deaths.

The most recent and past reports identified these issues as the top local health care priorities:

Vanderburgh County: COVID-19 response; behavioral health; access to care; maternal child health; exercise, weight, and nutrition
Warrick County: COVID-19 response; mental/behavioral health; access to care; obesity and healthy food access

Vanderburgh County: Substance and alcohol abuse; mental health; food insecurity and food access; chronic health conditions; poverty
Warrick County: Substance and alcohol abuse; mental health; chronic health conditions; access to care

Vanderburgh County: Exercise, nutrition, and weight; maternal, infant and fetal, and children’s health; behavioral health
Warrick County: Behavioral health; exercise, nutrition, and weight; cancer

Vanderburgh County: Tobacco use; obesity; substance abuse; mental health
Warrick County: Tobacco use; obesity; substance abuse

How were these assessment conclusions reached? Data were triangulated from stakeholder surveys, community focus groups, and secondary reviews such as county health rankings. Between what conditions residents worry about and providers treat, a clearer picture emerged of the area’s top health woes. (Source: Deaconess)

Community Service

As pointed out in Vanderburgh County’s community health needs assessment, access to care is a consistent concern for area residents. In response, low- cost resources make sure underserved populations get the care they need.

Low-Cost Health Clinics

Echo Community Health Care (Six campuses)
Pediatrics, behavioral health, prenatal, women’s health, dental services, addiction recovery services, prescription assistance, homeless health outreach

University of Southern Indiana-Glenwood Community Health Center
Women’s health, men’s health, social services, primary care, pediatric, counseling and mental health, dental, immunizations

Matthew 25 AIDS Services
HIV/AIDs prevention, testing, and treatment assistance, mental health, support groups, transportation, food assistance

AIDS Resource Group
Counseling, risk and harm reduction supplies, HIV/ AIDs prevention, testing, and management, food pantry, housing and utility assistance

Evansville Christian Life Center Health Clinic
Dental, medical, pregnancy, and STD testing

Muslim Association of Southern Indiana for Health Advancement, Inc.
Allergy and immunology, cardiology, dentistry, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology and oncology, infectious diseases, nephrology, neurology, ophthalmology, pulmonary medicine, pain management, rheumatology, sleep medicine

Oak Street Health Clinic
Primary care, immunizations, laboratory and testing, wellness and preventive care, chronic care

Forefront Therapy’s The Bronstein Clinic
Orthopedic, pediatric, chronic pain, running/sports performance, hypermobility, abdominal pain, pelvic health, balance and vestibular, geriatric, neurological, rheumatological, Parkinson’s, oncology, speech/language/fluency, sensory processing

Mobile Health Clinics

Vanderburgh County Health Department Mobile Clinic
Immunizations and STD testing

Ascension St. Vincent Evansville Pediatric Mobile Dental Clinic
Routine cleanings, exams, X-rays, sealants, fluoride treatment, damage repair, stainless steel crowns, extractions, oral health education

Deaconess Mobile Breast Center
3D mammogram screenings

Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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