Orlando, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Health in Orange County 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 www.FLHealthCHARTS.com.
"We are pleased that we are making progress in Orange County by moving into the upper ranking in the state. We are looking forward to further collaboration with our community partners on social determinants of health for moving the needle on an even healthier community. Adult obesity, child poverty and sexually transmitted diseases are big challenges," said Dr. Kevin Sherin, director for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.
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. The department 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 Orange County. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.
In Orange County, the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is designed to address specific opportunities for improved health that have been identified by the community. The department has partnered with many stakeholders to implement the CHIP and collaborates regularly to track progress.
The rankings show that Orange County has moved up in health outcome raking by 5, from the 21st in 2016 to 16th in 2017. We have shown improved strengths in areas such as: health insurance rates, healthcare providers, unemployment rates, violent crimes, and especially in air pollution rates, compared to 2016.
While we ranked better than a few other counties this report helps us identify areas where we must work harder as a community to improve the health of our residents. Areas of improvement include, but are not limited to, adult obesity rates, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and children in poverty rates. Focusing on improving these areas will greatly impact our overall health ranking.
"One thing I definitely see the CHIP doing is facilitating comprehensive health care that affirms the whole person rather than just specific issues they are experiencing. A lot of the discussions that fed into the development of the CHIP addressed intersecting health experiences shaped by a vast web of contextual factors across multiple domains. This is the perspective we need to embrace as we plan out our approach to community health and wellness in the 21st Century," said Alexandra Nowakowski, PhD, MPH, Florida State University College of Medicine
"The implementation of the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) sets the bar for Orange County to achieve its goals for a healthy, sustainable, and equitable future. By aligning our public health, transportation, housing, and healthy food assets together, we create a cohesive strategy that will address the health needs of our citizens. From our diverse backgrounds and expertise, the crafting of the CHIP will ensure that various aspects of the built environment are improved and that we are able to reduce barriers that prevent our brothers and sisters from obtaining access to healthy foods and safer modes of travel," said Elwy Gonzalez, AICP, Orange County Transportation Planning
"We hope that the CHP will provide valuable county level direction on regional community health priorities that benefit low income, minority, and vulnerable populations," said Anwar GeorgesAbeyie, Florida Hospital
Last week the Florida Department of Health celebrated a one year milestone as the first integrated department of health in the nation to achieve national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board. Public health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. The seal of accreditation signifies that the Florida Department of Health has been rigorously examined and meets or exceeds national standards that promote continuous quality improvement for public health.