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Survey aims to uncover health barriers in Finger Lakes region

County health officials and a regional health planning agency are encouraging residents of the 9-county Finger Lakes region to share their personal health stories.

Common Ground Health is launching an online survey to help identify people's health-related needs and give planners a better sense of how programs and policies can help.

The survey asks about a wide range of topics from access to medical and dental care to perceptions of personal safety and mental and emotional well-being.

There will be a special effort to give residents in underserved communities, including those who don't have access to a computer, a chance to participate in the survey.

"We're gonna be out at street corners; we're gonna be out where people are gathering,” said Wade Norwood, Common Ground Health’s chief strategy officer. “We're going to try to get the best snapshot we can of the health stories of the people who live in the Finger Lakes."

Norwood said the survey results will, among other things, be a powerful tool to understand how urban and rural poverty affect people's health.

This is the first time Common Ground Health is conducting a direct survey for local residents. The regional health planning organization typically relies on second hand data from hospitals, local governments, and other sources to compile African American and Latino health statistics and produce a regional health reports.

"Our aim is to use this survey to really be able to update those documents and speak regionally as to how the prevention agenda of New York State might be better realized through a clearer understanding of not only what's going on in regards to our health, but why we're seeing the health outcomes we're seeing," Norwood said.

The survey can be found in English at and in Spanish

Survey takers can remain anonymous or provide their name and contact information for a chance to win a $500 gift card to a local supermarket or gas station.  The survey is limited to residents of Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Wayne, Yates, Seneca, Steuben, Schuyler, and Chemung counties.