County Health assessments reveal concerns with Infant Mortality, STDs, Deaths from Injury

The Partnership for a Healthy Community released today the 2016 County Health Rankings
report by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Partnership’s Community Health Needs Assessment analyzes the 35 health indicators used by the County Health Rankings plus 125 additional measures to arrive at a more complete picture of the health within Escambia and Santa Rosa.

The CHNA and the County Health Rankings identified a number of significant health issues in both counties. The CHNA goes a step further to narrow the focus to three community health priorities:

  •  Tobacco use
  •  Obesity and nutrition
  •  Access to health care services.

In addition to these, the following have been identified as health concerns in the individual counties:

• Escambia County: Infant Mortality and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
• Santa Rosa County: Deaths from Injury

The Partnership collected county-level data for 167 health status indicators and 27 demographic indicators. As a benchmark, individual performance for each county was compared to that of Florida state as a whole. To identify overall themes, results were analyzed using the County Health Rankings model for population health that emphasized the impact of health factors, such as behavior, clinical care, social & economic factors, and physical environment, on the health outcomes of mortality (length of life) and morbidity (quality of life).

For the two communities as a whole, 51 indicators performed worse than the state. The major themes revealed included:

Tobacco Use
• 30 related indicators
• 15 indicators perform worse than the state for the two-county community
• 3 indicators with a worsening trend: Live Births where mother smoked during pregnancy, adults who never smoked, and heart disease deaths.

Healthy Weight/Obesity
• 44 related indicators
• 14 indicators perform worse than the state for the two-county community
• 6 indicators with a worsening trend, including: births to overweight mothers, sedentary adults and adults eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Access to Care
• 86 related indicators
• 28 indicators perform worse than the
state for the two-county community
• 9 indicators with a worsening trend, including: dental care access by low income persons, and outpatient ED visits for diabetes and hypoglycemia.

The County Health Rankings are a snapshot and are intended to start a dialogue within each county. The report encourages communities to further investigate and discuss ways to improve health.

The County Health Rankings encourages communities to address health issues through a collaborative effort involving a wide-range of community partners. The Partnership for a Healthy Community collaborates with the Florida Department of Health in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, non-profit organizations, Baptist Health Care, Sacred Heart Health System, University of West Florida, Escambia Community Clinic, free-clinics, business groups, schools, faith-based organizations, and many other stakeholders to identify health problems and develop plans to improve the health of our two-county community.

The Partnership and its collaborative partners use the CHNA to develop and implement improvement plans and evaluate progress. Three work groups, one on each health priority area, have been formed and are working on a number of proven strategies to improve these health issues.

Debra M. Vinci, DrPH, RDN, Associate Professor of Health Promotion at the University of West Florida and Chair of the Partnership’s Healthiest Weight and Nutrition Work Group notes:

“Overweight and obesity along with lifestyle behaviors including poor diet and physical inactivity are associated with increased risks for many chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, which not only interfere with an individual’s quality of life from a health standpoint, but can also lead to increased financial costs both for that individual and
their community.”

Partnership President and Escambia Community Clinics Director, Chandra Smiley, MSW,
commends the partnership approach:

“There is great value in addressing these issues together.By collaborating and communicating with other health organizations in our community, we have a greater collective impact on these priority issues and can offer better opportunities for our residents to receive quality health care and adopt habits that will improve their individual health, the effect of which will improve our community’s overall health status.”

For more information about the Partnership for a Healthy Community, please visit