Members of the North Side Health Advisory Committee are putting the finishing touches on a community survey they hope will guide them in their efforts.

Members of the North Side Health Advisory Committee are putting the finishing touches on a community survey they hope will guide them in their efforts.

A subcommittee of the citizens' panel, which is charged with identifying health problems in North Side neighborhoods and endeavoring to promote healthier lifestyles among residents, has been devising the document for some time.

Patty Myers and Chris Rudin conducted additional discussions with members of the full committee at last week's monthly meeting.

In its fourth draft, the survey asks respondents such questions as:

What attracted you to living in the Northland area?

Do you feel safe in the Northland area?

What would prevent you from obtaining health care?

In the past 12 months, have you eaten less because of lack of funds to buy food?

Other questions seek to determine the respondents' level of physical activity, three health concerns in the area and how interested people would be in volunteering to represent their neighborhood on the advisory committee.

"Your responses will assist in planning/implementing programs or projects focused on improving the health of our community," the current draft states.

Matt Baldwin, the Columbus Public Health official who serves as liaison to the panel, suggested posting the survey in its current form on the committee's online forum to glean comments on its contents.

"I would think that would be useful," he said.

Member Joyce Bourgault, executive director of the Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center free clinic, pointed out that the advisory group has been in existence for six months, but too few people are aware of it. She urged dissemination of the community survey to not only gather information but also to promote awareness of the committee and its purpose.

"The sooner we get it out there, the better," Bourgault said.

Barry Fellner, a North Linden resident who has volunteered to help set up a Web site for the North Side Health Advisory Committee, suggested putting the survey online in a PDF format once the site is up and running, with a specific e-mail address created for receiving responses. He also recommended distributing hard copies of the document in the offices of area physicians and urgent care centers, as well as libraries, churches and other gathering places.

Baldwin and Rudin were charged with distributing the survey, once the wording is finalized by Rudy and Fellner, at the April 6 meeting of the Northland Community Council and asking representatives of the various member organizations to take it back to their civic groups.

Although Bourgault pointed out the survey responses won't be in any way a scientific sampling of the Northland community's views on the various issues the health advisory group covers, Baldwin said that distributing it as widely as possible would aid in formulating future efforts.

Committee members agreed to a May 31 cutoff date for survey responses.

kparks@thisweeknews.com