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Florida Department of Health in Seminole County Addresses County Health Rankings

By Mirna Chamorro

March 29, 2017

Sanford, Fla.  - The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County (DOH-Seminole) recognizes the value in measuring health outcomes and today acknowledges 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.

“The County Health Rankings help us to understand what factors have influenced good health in our community and how we can continue to make Seminole County a healthy place to live, learn, work and play,” said Donna Walsh, health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County. “The recent Community Health Improvement Planning (CHIP) process included the collaboration of community private-public partnerships to prioritize health improvement activities utilizing the County Health Rankings.”

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 Seminole County. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.

Seminole County has continued to rank in the top 5 counties for Health Outcomes and Health Factors. Seminole County has strengths in the area(s) of Health Behaviors with access to exercise opportunities, food environment, adult smoking, obesity, mammography and diabetes screenings where it ranked 10 out of 67 counties, and Clinical Care with mammography screening, primary care physicians and uninsured where it ranked 7 out of 67 counties.

In Seminole 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 partnership with “Feed the Need Central Florida, Inc.” food pantry and co-location at the health department is an example of community collaboration that brings resources closer to those that need these and other services provided at the same location, as well as reduces access barriers. Food security, poverty and access to transportation are some of the social determinants that impact health outcomes. Our goal is to continue to partner with agencies such as “Feed the Need Central Florida, Inc.,” to reduce barriers to wellbeing and increase positive health outcomes in our community.

“At number 4 of 67 counties, Seminole County continues to enjoy a very favorable standing in the county health rankings. Individual health behavior now needs to improve to continue our progress. We continue to have issues with obesity, in part due to lack of physical activity. Alcohol-related driving deaths and sexually transmitted diseases are preventable issues where we need individuals to practice safer behaviors. Our worst ranking is due to the number of residents driving alone for long commutes. Hopefully during this next year we can encourage more residents to use the convenient SunRail when commuting into Orlando,” said Ken Peach, executive director for the Health Council of East Central Florida.

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.

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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