The Rapides Foundation is dedicated to improving the health status of Central Louisiana through a focused program of grantmaking. To assure our grant decisions are based on current, valid and locally specific data, the Foundation has contracted with experts to perform Community Assessments in our nine-parish service area.
Our fourth, most recent assessment was released in 2010 and builds upon work begun more than a decade earlier.
The Foundation in 1997 contracted with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine to perform our first Community Health Assessment. Tulane researchers gathered data through the use of written and telephone surveys, interviews and focus groups, as well as through the use of local, state and federal databases. They also compiled an inventory of community resources in partnership with health and human service organizations in Central Louisiana.
At the end of the survey period, the research team met with The Rapides Foundation administration to review their findings and identify the most pressing and important issues that affect the health and well-being of Central Louisiana.
In 2001, The Foundation contracted with Professional Research Consultants Inc. of Omaha, Neb., to conduct a second community health assessment to build on the work begun in 1997. It provided yet more insight into the health of our communities. Then in 2005, The Foundation once again conducted an assessment of its nine-parish service area, updating the 2002 health assessment and broadening its data-collection efforts. Those results were released in the spring of 2007.
PRC was again used to conduct our most recent assessment. The survey instrument used for the 2010 study was based largely on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and customized questions addressing gaps in indicator data relative to health promotion and disease prevention objectives and other recognized health issues. The final survey instrument was developed by The Rapides Foundation and PRC, and is similar to the previous surveys used in the region, allowing for data trending and comparisons with the rest of the state and nation, ultimately providing more insight into the health of our communities.