The 2018 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation studies and highlights many community factors that influence health. The rankings have been released, and Santa Rosa ranked 12th in the state for overall health. Okaloosa and Escambia Counties ranked 18th and 53rd, respectively, out of Florida’s 67 counties.
“The County Health Rankings are a useful tool in developing our three-year community health improvement plan,” said Sandra Park-O’Hara, ARNP, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County (DOH-Santa Rosa). “We have a strong network of community partners dedicated to improving the health of our communities and quality of life in Santa Rosa 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 Santa Rosa County. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.
In Santa Rosa 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 result of one successful collaboration with the Santa Rosa County School District is the implementation of the 5-2-1-0, Let’s Go! program in public schools and daycare centers. The program encourages children to increase their physical activity and adopt healthier eating habits. Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices among children can lead to a reduction in obesity among the adult population, since habits learned early in life are carried over into adulthood.
In an ongoing effort to decrease the county’s adult smoking rate, DOH-Santa Rosa partners with the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to offer free smoking cessation classes. Efforts to decrease exposure to secondhand smoke have resulted in the adoption of smoke free policies in 18 businesses throughout the county.
Earlier this month, DOH-Santa Rosa announced that its National Diabetes Prevention Program had again been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The evidence-based program teaches adults at risk of developing diabetes the skills they need to make lifestyle choices that can help with weight loss and delay or, in some cases, prevent the onset of diabetes.