As a community health nurse a community assessment can be used to assess the community’s health competencies, as well as the connection amongst members of the community. It can serve as a starting point to address problem areas within a community; as well as be the foundation for strategizing to make conscious changes in the community. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “a community assessment is a valuable strategy for obtaining a clear picture of your community.” This paper will give an opportunity to shed light on the health problems of a community, by identifying the components of the problem related to the community dynamics. In the borough of Manhattan, lying between Central Park and the Hudson River, from 59th to 116th street, is a community that carries the reputation of being the upscale residential side of upper Manhattan. The Upper West Side is home to New York City’s, intellectual hub, and artistic workers.
A generally healthy environment, the Upper West Side has a plethora of parks, and community services. Plenty in adequate housing, and other resources that are essential in preventing diseases and promoting health; such as exercise clubs every few block like the local YMCA to name one, as well as organic food grocery stores, day cares, preschools, charter public schools, and private schools. Paired with the relatively low poverty rate, it is no wonder the members of the community feel that their neighborhood is safe. When compared to New York City as a whole, majority of the people on the Upper West Side are of Caucasian race/ethnicity. However with the Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, and Germany leading in the top countries of origin, more than one fifth of Upper West Sides residents were born outside the U.S. On any given day you can encounter a grand variety of people, from young mothers, to the nannies, the elderly and their caretakers, and slew of tourists visiting Central Park and the many local theaters.
You may even encounter beggars in front of restaurants or drug addicts on the benches. Though as a community the Upper West Side makes an effort to stay healthy. The community is still faced with major health issues. Such as mental health issues, although lower than the average of New York City’s 6%, depression and/or anxiety is common and serious amongst the residents of the Upper West Side. 5% of adults on the Upper West Side corresponding to about 10,000 people experience serious emotional distress. Apart from mental illness Heart disease is the leading cause of adult hospitalization and death on the Upper West Side. In 2,246 hospitalizations, 1,288 of them were related to complications from heart disease, that is more than 50%; and of 592 deaths 233 were due to heart disease. According to Healthy People 2020 “heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States… Fortunately, it is also among the most preventable.”
Cigarette smoking is a major cause of heart disease, this fact is very important to the residents of the Upper West side because although 49% of smokers attempted to quit last year. One fifth of adults still smoke which is 20% of the population. While still lower than New York City’s average of 22%, cigarette smoking and the effects should be an area of concern for the Upper West Side. Cigarette smoke and heart disease are the most urgent health concerns in the Upper West Side. Of the nearly 227 thousand residents 20% is an extremely large number of residents to be smokers. The community needs to be made aware of how cigarette smoking is a direct link to heart disease being the number one killer in their community, as well as the affects that it has on the children of the community.
Such as children that live in homes where one or both parents smoke are 10 times more likely to smoke themselves. This can cause a revolving door effect and continue the cycle. The issue of mental illness is an area of concern as well. Fifteen percent of smokers also suffer from depression and anxiety, therefore evidence shows that the issue of mental health on the Upper West Side causes the habit of cigarette smoking to further. If we can fix the issue of mental health we can improve the stats of cigarette smoking. Improving the stats of cigarette smoking will ultimately decrease the number of hospitalizations and deaths due to heart disease.
Centers for disease control and prevention http://www.phi.org/uploads/application/files/dz9vh55o3bb2x56lcrzyel83fwfu3mvu24oqqvn5z6qaeiw2u4.pdf New York City Department