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 most recent assessment was conducted in 2021 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, 2010, 2013 and 2018, the Foundation once again conducted assessments of its nine-parish service area, updating the health assessment and broadening its data-collection efforts.
PRC was again used to conduct our most recent assessment. The survey instrument used for the 2021 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 benchmarking against the rest of the state and nation, ultimately providing more insight into the health of our communities. It is also important to note that some data was collected prior to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic that began in March 2020. This is critical to keep in mind when referencing comparisons to the current indicators which may have been impacted by pandemic-related factors not represented in the benchmark data.