Kandiyohi County to join regional community health survey

An adult health survey will collect valuable data on the health of Kandiyohi County's residents, which will be used for the county's state mandated community health assessment.

Janne Gossman rides on the Glacial Ridge Trail Friday evening in New London during the seventh annual Mayors Bike Ride
Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services will be joining other regional public health organizations in conducting an adult health survey. The survey will collect data about adult residents' mental and physical health including physical activity. The data will then be used in the upcoming community health assessment mandated by the Minnesota Department of Health
Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo
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WILLMARKandiyohi County will soon be asking adult residents how they feel, both mentally and physically.

The county, after approval from the County Board on Tuesday, will be participating in an adult health survey which will provide the county with hard data to be used for figuring out future projects and priorities in public health.

"The survey helps us tell a story on how our adults in Kandiyohi County are doing healthwise," said Jennie Lippert, Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services director.

Jennifer Lippert
Jennifer Lippert
Contributed / Kandiyohi County

The county will be partnering and sharing the costs of the survey with other regional public health departments — Renville County , Countryside Public Health , Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services, Nobles County and Southwest Health and Human Services .

Wilder Research will be contracted to to send out surveys to adult residents in south-central and southwestern Minnesota, compile the returned and completed surveys and then analyze the data for the counties. The foundation has helped Kandiyohi and other counties do similar surveys and assessments in the past.


Kandiyohi County will receive health data specific to the county. Wilder will mail out surveys to a cross-section of adult residents of all ages in the county. The survey will ask about a resident's mental health and well-being, physical health and will look at trends in health post-COVID.

"We are looking to distribute 1,600 surveys in Kandiyohi County and it will be distributed in multiple languages," including Somali, Spanish, Karen and English, Lippert said.

The driving force for the survey is the state-mandated community health assessment, which Lippert said Kandiyohi County and other counties will be working on in 2024. Every five years the state requires public health departments to complete an assessment and report it to the Minnesota Department of Health .

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"A community health assessment identifies and describes factors that affect the health of the community and the factors that determine available resources to address those factors," Lippert said.

The assessments can not only help local public health departments prioritize areas in their counties that need work, such as chemical abuse or mental health, but also might even help transform public health statewide into the 21st century.

"This may help determine what those base expectations and services" are that are peple expect to be provided across the state, said Commissioner Steve Gardner.

The regional public health departments figured doing a local adult health survey this year would be a good idea, to provide up-to-date information for the larger assessment next year.

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"With our neighboring counties doing this now, it only made sense for us to jump a year ahead and do it the same time our neighbors are doing it," said Larry Kleindl, county administrator. "If you do it as a region, it really gives you a better feel of what is going on."


Lippert had expected the county would work on the assessment in 2024, so there are no funds in the 2023 budget for the survey. An exact cost for the county's share of the survey hasn't been determined, but Lippert doesn't believe it will cost more than $10,000.

"It is just good business to have good data," said Commissioner Corky Berg. "It will be dollars well spent, going forward with this."

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email or direct 320-214-4373.

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