Stamford, CT—November 1, 2016
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), which has an Outpatient Center in Stamford, plans to increase outreach and educational programs to meet the needs of surrounding communities. To that end, the hospital recently conducted a survey to assess the muscle, bone and joint health needs of people living in lower Fairfield and Upper Westchester Counties. Efforts were made to ensure input from residents in all socioeconomic groups, including underserved communities.
HSS researchers found that arthritis and osteoporosis were the most common diagnosed musculoskeletal conditions affecting survey participants. Falls were also a significant problem in the community: 25% of respondents said they had fallen in the past year, and 9% had sustained a fracture when they fell. Back and shoulder pain were the most common musculoskeletal ailments among the underserved population. HSS presented the study at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver on November 1.
"We currently offer free monthly lectures on different health topics at the Stamford Outpatient Center, as well as health education newsletters. In the interest of enhancing our programs that serve the community, it was important for us to learn more about their needs and any potential barriers to care," said Pamela Sanchez-Villagomez, manager, Stamford Education Initiative at Hospital for Special Surgery.
"Musculoskeletal diseases are among the most prevalent health conditions in the U.S., resulting in financial and social burdens, especially in underserved communities," said Titilayo Ologhobo, associate director of Outcomes in the Public & Patient Education Department at HSS. "We collaborated with many community-based organizations in lower Fairfield County, and they played an essential role in the development and implementation of our survey." The AmeriCares Free Clinics, the Stamford Department of Health and Social Services, various senior centers in the region, and several additional public and private organizations were instrumental in gathering information.
A Community Health Needs Assessment questionnaire, available in both English and Spanish, was distributed by email, standard mail and in person. Researchers also conducted limited outreach via social media. Target communities included Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and New Canaan. Additional surveys were sent to residents of Upper Westchester County.
Questions focused on health status and quality of life; health behaviors and lifestyle; health education; use of and access to care; and children's health. As a follow-up to the questionnaire, interviews were conducted with 25 Spanish-speaking members of community-based organizations to obtain additional information about the underserved population.
A total of 357 people responded to the survey, ranging in age from 20 to 89. More than half (57%) of respondents were age 60 or older, and 73% were female. Osteoarthritis was the most common diagnosed musculoskeletal condition overall. The most frequent barriers to care were a lack of health insurance or the cost of insurance.
Additional survey results:
In addition to the monthly community health seminars at its Stamford Outpatient Center, HSS currently offers a Tai Chi class at the Over 60 Senior Neighborhood center in Stamford. A bilingual instructor speaks both English and Spanish
Armed with the information gleaned from the survey, HSS educators plan to expand wellness programs to meet the diverse needs of the community. "With what we learned from the survey, the Stamford Outpatient Center, which opened in 2015, is now well positioned to develop additional programs to promote good health and enhance mobility in local communities, particularly in underserved areas," said Sandra Goldsmith, assistant vice president, Education & Academic Affairs at Hospital for Special Surgery. Lectures, small group workshops, and exercise classes will be among the offerings.
About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the ninth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S.News & World Report (2018-2019). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic on musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.