Glendale Adventist Medical Center on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.

Glendale Adventist Medical Center on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. (Cheryl Guerrero/Staff photographer / February 12, 2013)

Local hospitals and health care professionals agree they need to better integrate mental and physical care to address Glendale’s most pressing health needs.

For the Community Health Needs Assessment focus group, which meets once every three years, the most pressing public health issues affecting Glendale include obesity, smoking cessation, high blood pressure and diabetes.

At a meeting Mondayof more than 30 representatives from local stakeholders — including Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Glendale Memorial Hospital and the Verdugo Hills Hospital — the city’s most urgent health problems were discussed in terms of integrating services to have the highest impact.

“I think we need to target those things that are most prevalent in community….so we get the most bang for our buck,” said Dr. Manuel Momjian, who serves on the Armenian American Medical Society’s board.

Glendale’s dense population increased the sort of risk factors the prevalent health problems, said Glendale Fire Battalion Chief Greg Fish, which meant organizations had to do a better job with preventive care instead of waiting for a “crisis point.”

“When you’re stressed about your basic safety, stressed over your job, over your neighbor, I’d say stress has a huge impact and we need to find a way to address that,” he said.

The assessment is required by law every three years, and in the past has led to local initiatives, such as the founding of the nonprofit Glendale Healthy Kids.

Still, Glendale isn’t bereft of positive factors for encouraging health. City Manager Scott Ochoa said the level of civic engagement in the city provided many avenues for outreach.

“It’s kind of hard to go somewhere in Glendale and not run into a community group…who is very zealous about what they do,” he said. “It’s a very well organized and well mobilized community today.”

Bruce Nelson, representing Glendale Adventist, said he was happy to see the focus group move from simply listing the most prevalent problems to encouraging a more holistic approach to improving overall health in Glendale.

“We’re now looking beyond what’s directly in front of us,” he said. “We’ve moved upstream, I think to the kinds of things that are influencing, that are determining health at some level."

-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal