The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) have collaborated to bring the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report for 2018. These rankings compare counties within each state on more than 30 health-influencing factors such as education, jobs, and access to quality healthcare. They provide overall rankings for each county pertaining to health outcomes and health factors. Health outcomes are measured by the quality and length of life. Health factors represent what influences the health of a county and is measured based on health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. The main goals of the County Health Rankings are to build awareness of the multiple factors that influence health, provide a reliable source of data to communities to help them identify opportunities to improve their health and connect, engage and empower community leaders to improve health.
Suwannee River Area Health Education Center (SRAHEC) is dedicated to improving the health factors and outcomes for the residents in the 12 Florida counties they serve. The 12 counties include Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Putnam, Suwannee, and Union. According to the 2018 data collected on the County Health Rankings, 8 out of 12 counties have improved in their overall ranking of health factors. Although a majority of the 12 counties rate at the lower end of the 67 counties in Florida, SRAHEC continues to strive for and succeeding in improving the overall health factors of our residents.
Rankings are classified as #1 being the best and #67 the worst.
One of SRAHEC’s main focus is on reducing the rates of tobacco use through Tobacco Free Florida AHEC Cessation Program. They also have ongoing health initiatives and public health projects based on certain health needs of the communities in which SRAHEC serves. According to the health behavior rankings, the rates of adult smoking decreased from 2017-2018 in Alachua and Gilchrist counties, remained the same in Suwannee County and increased in the other 9 counties. This health factor ranking gives SRAHEC an idea of the communities that may require more focus to decrease the rates of tobacco use.
The annual County Health Rankings and Roadmap reports give us valuable and reliable information so that we may acknowledge areas that each county has seen improvement. We can also evaluate and address the health disparities in our community, such as increased rates of obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, and poverty. This data will assist public health leaders in the development of strategies that focus on improving and achieving equitable health care and health practices in all areas of the communities we live in.
For more information on all county health rankings in the state of Florida, visit County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.
About the Author: Brooke Frye
|Brooke Frye is currently an intern at SRAHEC with a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Education. She will graduate from the University of Florida in December 2018.