This Image for Use For May2016 Forum

Poor Health: Health Consequences of Extended Poverty was the topic of discussion at the May 25th meeting of the Community Forum: Challenges of Poverty in Carbondale, at the Carbondale Public Library, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

‘Poor health’ might well be the answer to the question: How are the people of Southern Illinois doing these days? 

Indeed, such were the findings of the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment presented by Angie Bailey, Community Benefits Manager of Southern Illinois Healthcare, who will participated. The goal of the tri-annual assessment is to determine the most significant health issues in the area and how to improve them.

The report cited three major health issues in Southern Illinois – cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental health, each of which requires different approaches, according to Bailey.

Ms. Baily was joined in the discussion by Miriam Link-Mullison, Chief Administrator for Jackson County Health Department, who as one of the leaders of the Healthy Southern Illinois Delta Network of regional county health departments, too, helped us understand the state of health of residents in our region.

Yet, for those of us following the long-term impact of regional poverty, the health status of our fellow citizens, are not surprising given the strong tie between health conditions, race and socio-economic status  Indeed, according to a recent report by researchers at the University of California School of Medicine: “Socioeconomic status is the most powerful predictor of disease, disorder, injury and mortality we have.”

And, according to the 2016 Illinois Poverty report, conducted by the Social Impact Research Center of Heartland Alliance, 7 of the 11 most southern counties of Illinois were issued poverty warnings.

The role of explaining the consequences of multigenerational poverty in our region fell to Dhrubodhi Mukherjee, Associate Professor in the SIU School of Social Work, who, too, has his finger on the pulse through his efforts to advance collaborations with local health agencies to deal with the health issues cited in Community Health Needs Assessment.

The Forum is organized by SIU’s Imagining Geographies, Carbondale Public Library, and the Sparrow Coalition.

For more information, contact Imagining Geographies facilitator, Peter Lemish, at (618) 534-3989.

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