An annual report measuring the health of communities across the country has been released, and Escambia County again falls in troubling territory.
The 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, released March 29 by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ranks Escambia 58 out of 67 counties for community health. That’s a bit worse than last year’s ranking of 55.
The annual report ranks counties across the country. It measures not only health outcomes, which represents a community’s general state of health, but also health factors, or what influences an area’s health.
The health outcomes rankings take into account an area’s quality of life factors, as well as its residents’ length of life. The health-factors ranking looks at environmental and economic factors, in addition to a population’s health behaviors.
While Escambia did not perform well on the annual ranking (its health outcomes ranking also slipped a notch to 33 out of 67 counties), its neighbor Santa Rosa did significantly better — scoring a seven on health outcomes, and a 12 on health factors.
Escambia’s silver lining in this year’s ranking may be that it bests by one the county’s all time worse ranking of 59 in 2015. Since the annual ranking was first released in 2011, Escambia had been on a worsening trajectory, seeing its ranking climb from 47 to 59. The county’s 2016 score of 55 was a notable improvement.
To mull over the wealth of data available in the 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report, click here.
The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County’s response to the annual report follows:
The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia) recognizes the value in measuring health outcomes and today acknowledged the 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This study highlights the many community factors that influence health and uses established data, much of which is available from the department at FLHealthCHARTS.com.
These rankings are a snapshot of the health of counties across the country and they emphasize that health is not a singular effort but a combined work in progress across all community partners. FDOH-Escambia works in collaboration with local governments, non-profit organizations, health care facilities, business groups, schools, faith-based organizations, and many other stakeholders to improve the health of all people in Escambia County, Florida. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.
FDOH-Escambia’s Director, John J. Lanza, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP, remarks: “We have been monitoring the annual reports since the first rankings for Florida counties were published in 2010. As each year’s rankings are published, their value grows by providing a comparative history of the key measures used in the ranking system. Such data helps to direct our focus in the community health improvement planning process. Our current Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) was published in December 2016, and addresses many of the public health issues associated with these measures by focusing on the priority areas of healthy weight, tobacco use, access to care, and infant mortality.”
The department has partnered with many stakeholders to implement the CHIP and collaborates regularly to track progress. Current and upcoming initiatives tied to the 2016 CHIP include: collaborating with worksites, physicians offices and clinics, and other organizations to raise awareness of Type 2 Diabetes and reduce people’s risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes; working in the community to raise awareness of the dangers associated with electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS – also known as e-cigarettes); supporting and implementing behaviors associated with reducing infant mortality, such as breastfeeding and limiting infants’ exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and after birth; and coordinating with child care programs and parents of preschoolers to incorporate physical activity into daily non-recess activities.