Once they completed those lists, Kristi Melton, a student at the
University of Illinois Springfield who is working on her master's
degree in public health and assisting with the Logan County IPLAN as
part of her internship, compiled the information and identified the
top five priorities for the county.
Melton shared with the group
what each roundtable had listed as the priority needs for the
community. In most cases adult obesity, diseases of the heart,
tobacco and substance abuse, and oral health ranked at the top.
Melton said she had looked at all the rankings she had asked the
groups to place on their top 10, such as the seriousness of the
problem and the effectiveness of any current programs.
She had then used a calculation to determine what the top five
concerns should be for Logan County. The results came out as
follows: 1. adult obesity; 2. diseases of the heart; 3. tobacco and
substance abuse; 4. oral health care; 5. sexually transmitted
Melton said that now that the group had their top five, the next
step was to figure out what is causing the problem. This is
important because to develop a good program to correct the problem,
the group needs a clear vision of why the problem exists.
She said that the room was going to once again break into groups,
but this time the participants would choose which group they joined
based on the problem they were most concerned about or had the most
Each table had the task of taking their specific problem and
finding the "primary risk factor," the "direct contributing factor"
and finally the "indirect contributing factors."
She gave an example of a problem of motor vehicle accident
fatalities, saying the risk factor was a lack of use of seat belts.
The direct contributing factor might be awareness. Finally, the
indirect contributing factor would answer the question, "Why aren't
people aware?" Melton then said that it could be due to the lack of
With the process explained, the committee broke into its groups
and went to work identifying the factors involved in one of the five
specific health problems in Logan County.
When they were finished, Melton went around the room and asked
each team to share their findings. Each group offered extensive
lists of risk factors, direct contributing factors and indirect
To follow is just a sampling of all that was discussed.
Adult obesity was discussed, and Rebecca VanNydeggen of The
Salvation Army spoke for that group. The group identified two major
risk factors: lifestyle and nutrition. Direct contributing factors
and indirect contributing factors included lack of exercise, family
history, time conflicts, access to recreation facilities, lack of
transportation and other financial obstacles, and employment factors
like work schedules.
The group also listed problems relating to nutrition education,
cost of healthy foods and a lack of motivation toward a healthy
Judy Horn of the Parish Nurse Task Force along with her group
took on diseases of the heart.
The group addressed obesity, with contributing factors being poor
diet, economic constraints, lack of nutrition knowledge, lack of
motivation, lack of exercise, pre-existing health conditions and
Among the direct and indirect contributing factors they also
noted tobacco use, stress, workplace challenges, financial
difficulties, realistic and unrealistic expectations, addiction, and
The group also added pre-existing health conditions that are not
identified due to a lack of access to health care.
Access to oral health care was reviewed by Mackenzie Koontz
of the Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois on behalf of
her group. One of their primary risk factors included patients who
are low-income or at poverty level, and contributing to that is lack
of funding for programs and a lack of education. Other factors
discussed included the poor economy, lack of jobs, no money for
preventive care, a lack of oral health programs in the school
systems, poor role models in the home and lack of doctors who will
[to top of second column]
The table discussing tobacco and substance abuse chose
Mike Geriets, acting Lincoln police chief, as spokesman.
The group called their first risk factor family history, and they
named direct and indirect contributing factors: predisposition or
hereditary, family acceptance, behavioral modeling, access to the
substance itself, availability, affordability, lack of education,
low self-esteem, lack of supervision, and stress.
Community acceptance and tolerance was another risk factor, with
the following being some of the direct and indirect contributing
factors: peer pressure, geographical location, lack of enforcement,
age, social status, lack of role models, media influence, limited
alternatives, accepted behavior, community tradition and ignoring
Shana Bean of the Logan County Department of Public Health spoke
on sexually transmitted diseases, saying that the primary
risk factors come from unprotected sexual behavior and a lack of
understanding of information that is provided.
Contributing factors and indirect contributing factors listed
were lack of condoms, lack of resources, lack of finances and lack
of restraint. Other factors identified were peer pressure and use of
drugs or alcohol.
Additional items on their list were lack of concern for self
well-being, lack of maturity and family attitude.
When the last group had finished, Melton said that the
committee's work was done. She, on the other hand, still has quite a
bit of work to do. She will organize all the information provided by
the committee and write a Community Health Plan for Logan County.
The deadline for having the plan submitted to the state Board of
Health is October, and Melton said that the public could expect to
see it posted on the IPLAN Web site in November.
To view what is currently listed on the Web, visit this link:
Below is a list of the groups that were invited to participate in
the 2010 Community Health Committee. The groups listed in bold did participate by sending at least one person to at least one of
the three meetings. Melton said that as a part of what she will put
together, every participant will be named in her Community Health
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital,
Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Task Force, Castle Manor,
Christian Village, Community Action Partnership of Central
Illinois, Domestic Abuse & Violence Task Force, Education Task
Force, Family Medical Center, Healthy Communities Partnership,
Healthy Families Task Force, Lincoln Christian University,
Lincoln College, Lincoln Community High School superintendent,
Lincoln Healthcare Specialists, Lincoln police acting chief,
Lincoln Recreation Center, Lincoln School District 27
superintendent, Lincoln/Logan Chamber of Commerce, Logan County
Board chairman, Logan County Board/Board of Health, Logan County
Department of Public Health, Logan County Economic
Development, Logan County Emergency Management Agency,
Logan County Food Pantry, Logan County Housing Authority, Logan
County Paramedic Association, Logan County Probation,
Logan County public information officer, Logan County sheriff,
Logan County state's attorney, Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of
Logan County, Logan-Mason Mental Health & Rehabilitation,
Maple Ridge Care Centre, mayor of Atlanta, mayor of
Lincoln, mayor of Mount Pulaski, Courier, Lincoln Daily News,
Oasis senior center, Parish Nurse Task Force, Reality
Illinois teen anti-tobacco coalition student representative from
Lincoln Community High School, Regional Office of Education 38,
Senior Issues Task Force, St. Clara's Manor, The Salvation
Army, University of Illinois Extension, Vonderlieth Living
[By NILA SMITH]
1, posted Monday)