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DOH-Flagler Addresses County Health Rankings

By Mary Lachendro

April 02, 2018

Bunnell, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health in Flagler County recognizes the value in measuring health outcomes and acknowledged the 2018 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. Based on health outcomes such as length and quality of life, Flagler County is ranked 14th out of the 67 counties in the State, says Bob Snyder, Administrator of the DOH-Flagler. This is a significant improvement from 2014, when Flagler was the 27th healthiest community.

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 Flagler County. These rankings use data related to health behaviors (tobacco use, exercise, healthy eating), social and economic factors (income, education, employment), access to clinical care and physical environment, as influences on our health.

In Flagler 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. According to Snyder, the five health priorities of Flagler County include, adult and youth behavioral health issues, domestic violence, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and child and maternal health. Community partners work together to address each problem. The Sheriff’s Officer for example is leading efforts to address the disturbing increase in Domestic Violence and Sheriff Staly convened a Summit in January to raise awareness and identify strategies to decrease violence in the home. Another partnership involved the Flagler County Schools, Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare, Flagler Cares and Halifax Health who worked together to secure a grant to place additional mental health providers in our schools to assist children in crisis and avoid becoming a statistic of the juvenile justice system. Carrie Baird, who leads Flagler Cares as Executive Director, believes that ‘our community’s work on these priorities will contribute to an improvement in Flagler’s overall county health ranking by moving the needle on several health and outcome measurements.’

Dr. Stephen Bickel, Medical Director of the DOH-Flagler and President of Flagler Cares commented that ‘we take a population based approach to the health of the county’s residents. In the last two years, we’ve launched a clinic to treat HIV and chronic Hepatitis C patients as well as expanded our school vaccination program, and now we’re setting our sights on diabetes. We’re constantly striving to develop approaches that have a broad impact on the health of our community, and we won’t rest until Flagler County is in the top ten in the State in terms of county health rankings.’

To explore more health indicators in your county, visit www.FLHealthCHARTS.com.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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