Your personal health story can help improve lives.

That’s the message that county health departments and Common Ground Health are sharing with residents in Rochester and the Finger Lakes.

“We are asking residents to answer questions about their experience with health through a 15 to 20 minute online survey at,” explained Trilby de Jung, chief executive officer of Common Ground Health, the region’s health research and planning organization. “These stories will help identify health-related needs and reveal where programs and policies can make our communities healthier.”

Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County commissioner of public health, added: “To impact disparities in health, we must have reliable and current local data on the many factors that are contributing to the gaps. To reduce health disparities, this important information will better assure that we're on the right path.”

Through recent analysis of health care data, Common Ground Health identified numerous troubling trends in chronic illness and early death in our region. For example, analysts discovered that early death rates are as high in some rural communities as they are in poorer urban neighborhoods, that African Americans struggle with dramatically higher rates of heart disease than other groups and that opioid overdose rates have soared among all populations. 

 “To better understand what is driving these and other issues, we need to hear directly from residents about what helps and what stands in the way of living long and healthy lives in our region,” de Jung said. 

The results will be incorporated into a series of studies focused on health equity in the Finger Lakes region and help county health departments develop strategies for addressing public health priorities.

The survey asks about a wide range of topics from access to medical and dental care to perceptions of personal safety and satisfaction with work. To capture each individual’s unique story, several questions are open-ended with an opportunity for unstructured feedback.  

“For the findings to be meaningful, we need to gather health stories from as many residents as possible,” says de Jung. “Please tell us your story through the survey and share the link with friends and colleagues.”

The survey is available in English at and in Spanish at

Participants can complete the survey anonymously, or enter their name and email for a chance to win a $500 gift card to a local supermarket or gas station. See official rules here. Participation is limited to residents of the following Finger Lakes, N.Y. counties: Chemung, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates.

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