County health rankings

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in Holmes and Washington Counties 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.

Karen Johnson, Health Officer for FDOH-Holmes/Washington states: “We are very proud to see that the Washington County Health Ranking for 2017 has improved from number 42 out of 67 counties to number 37.  In 2015 Washington County was ranked 66.  In Holmes County the ranking was at 59 for 2017, but there were areas that had improved such as the smoking rates, excessive drinking, teen births, and high school graduation rates. There are many factors that impact these rankings, but the work of community partners, the medical community, and community leaders is very important in improving the health of the 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 Holmes and Washington Counties. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.

In Holmes and Washington Counties, 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 Washington Community Health Improvement Partnership (WCHIP) continues to work on improving the health of Washington County. The WCHIP is currently working on simplified health resources to promote positive health choices. In addition, obesity reduction and diabetes prevention, unintentional injury reduction, and teen pregnancy reduction remain a focus. The Healthy Holmes Task Force (HHTF) works to improve the health of Holmes County. The current focus of the HHTF is to increase physical activity in middle and high school aged youth, promote healthy lifestyle and chronic disease prevention, and improve behavioral health. Through the work of various community partners, Washington and Holmes Counties continue to make health improvements.

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.