Fairmont State students to conduct Community Needs Assessment for the city of Clarksburg

Fairmont State University’s Community Health program faculty and students are conducting a community needs assessment for the City of Clarksburg. They will be collecting information from people who live, work, volunteer, or go to school in the City of Clarksburg.

The students participating are in two classes, the first works to conduct health and safety needs assessments for local communities, this year being Clarksburg. The second class then develops health promotional materials to address the health and safety issues identified through the assessment.

“This project takes students out of the classroom and into the communities where they will ultimately live and work,” Dr. Janie Leary, associate professor for the Community Health program, said. “Students gain experience while providing services to the community.”

Annette Wright, Clarksburg City Clerk, said the city will be able to gain insight from the assessment and utilize it to better help their citizens.

“We are excited that this needs assessment is taking place and we look forward to the results,” she said.

Those who choose to participate in the survey will answer questions about topics such as harm reduction and need exchange programs, food insecurity, homelessness, family financial needs, and more. The survey can be found at http://j.mp/2m643jq.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health provides students with the knowledge and skills to work in community-based programs. The focus of the degree is to prepare graduates to assess needs, plan and implement programs, conduct research, communicate health information, and serve as a resource person. Courses are designed with hands-on learning in mind.

“Students participate in projects where they are meeting a community’s health needs. They are guided through the process of collecting needs assessment data, analyzing it, and identifying the important issues,” Leary said. “Communities benefit because they learn more about what the community needs are without having to secure funds for the project.”

Working with real communities as students provides them with a better skill set once they graduate, Leary said. Program graduates work to promote positive health behaviors and prevent disease by educating communities and individuals.

If there are any questions or someone would like a paper version of the survey, please contact Dr. Janie Leary at (304) 333-3630 or jleary2@fairmontstate.edu.

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