Health & Wellness Coalition of Runnels County gearing up

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register
Dr. Bradly Bundrant is the chairman of the Health & Wellness Coalition of Runnels County. The coalition is gearing up to start hosting health screenings, public education classes and podcasts.

The Health & Wellness Coalition of Runnels County (HAWC-RC) was formed in September of 2017 by Ballinger Memorial Hospital physician Dr. Bradly Bundrant. The HAWC-RC's goal is to assist with community health by having health screenings, public education classes and assist patients with getting diabetic supplies and mammograms. One of the key groups that the coalition will be working with are the uninsured.

According to the HAWC-RC, the need for a nonprofit community health group is critical in Runnels County. The 2020 Texas County Health Rankings shows that 29% (2,968) of county residents are obese; 14% (1,433) are diabetic. One of the most glaring statistics is in regards to breast cancer. The report shows that 67% of women, aged 65 and older, do not get annual mammogram screenings. That is over 700 women, in a critical breast cancer age group, who do not get the key diagnostic test for breast cancer. Ballinger Memorial Hospital has said that the cure for breast cancer is early detection. Over 700 women are at risk in Runnels County because they don't have those annual mammograms. Many of these women are elderly and lack the opportunity, due to transportation, to get mammograms. The coalition will cover the importance of early detection in public classes and will work with medical facilities to help get those women mammograms that are so critical in defeating breast cancer.

The report data shows that diabetes, one of the leading causes of death in the United States, afflicts 14% of the people in Runnels County. 1,433 people need insulin, testing supplies or other medication on a regular basis. Many of those people, as discussed earlier, don’t have insurance. Insulin, test strips, meters, etc., are getting more expensive every day. What this typically means is that the uninsured go without critical medications and tests due to the high cost of the aforementioned items. The HAWC-RC is working to get supplies, free of charge, for diabetic patients.

The report shows that 29% (2,968) of the county are physically inactive. In many cases, physical inactivity goes hand-in-hand with diabetes. People who are physically inactive tend to be overweight. Those who are overweight run a higher risk of being afflicted with diabetes. The best way to combat diabetes is with prevention. The key to prevention is educating people about the autoimmune disorder.

In addition to the above issues, there are 370 STD cases in the county. Again, the best way to attack STDs is by education, which can lead to prevention. The coalition will host these classes free of charge.

Children are also mentioned in the report. It shows that 35% (817) of children are in single-parent households in Runnels County. In Runnels county, 86% of those single parents are women. Almost 300 children are without medical and dental insurance. Overall, we have over 3,700 uninsured children and adults. It is challenging to get children regular checkups if they do not have insurance. Many of these single parents will go without the proper nourishment in an effort to see that their children are properly nourished. One of the goals of the HAWC-RC is to assist with health screenings for children and to provide public education on proper nourishment. The HAWC-RC will work with dieticians to host the public education classes.

The coalition will be venturing into the realm of podcasts, with weekly podcasts on health, as well as other updates. The podcasts will be hosted by Dr. Bundrant. The schedule has not been set at this time.

The efforts of the coalition are not limited to their own reach. The HAWC-RC is working on partnerships within the community to help bring the community true community healthcare. This includes working with various towns to have health screenings for employees and their families, working with businesses such as Ballinger Printing to handle printing needs of the coalition for free or at reduced costs, as well as working with various other groups to address the myriad of community health needs in Runnels County. The group is also working to establish a Volkssport Chapter in the county to assist in getting people out and about to help in the battle against obesity and diabetes.

The coalition is in the process of applying to the United Way of the Concho Valley for funding assistance. Additionally, they are looking at possibly hiring a grant writing firm to assist in gather funds. Many of the grant writing firms do not charge costs up front. If they are successful in obtaining a grant, their cost is  percentage of the grant.

If you would like more information HAWC-RC, email Dr. Bundrant: at: DrBundrant@bmhd.org.