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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH IN ST. JOHNS COUNTY ADDRESSES THE COUNTY HEALTH RANKINGS

By Noreen Nickola-Williams

March 29, 2017

Contact:
Noreen Nickola-Williams
Noreen.Nickola-Williams@FLHealth.gov
904-209-3250 X 1091

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL - For the sixth consecutive year, St. Johns County is ranked #1 in Florida in Health Outcomes (measures of today's health) and #1 in Health Factors (measures of tomorrow's health) in the national 2017 County Health Rankings Report. "Health Outcomes" use length of life and quality of life as standard measurements to describe a community's health. "Health Factors" are indicators that help determine our future health (i.e. factors that can ultimately make us sick or lead to an early death).

The Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County (DOH-St. Johns County) 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.

"Our sustained high ranking is a testament to the commitment and collaboration of our many community partners within the public health system here in St. Johns County," said Dr. Dawn Allicock, Director and Health Officer with Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County. "The synergy maximized through leveraging community resiliency and partnerships, and intertwining clinical medicine and population health will enable us to hone in on improvements for our residents and visitors, galvanizing the achievement of Health Equity, assuring conditions for optimal health for all people in our County."

"Many factors impact the overall health of our community and we are proud of St. Johns County for once again being ranked number one in this important quality-of-life assessment. We are committed to providing access to services, programs, facilities, and natural amenities that help our residents enjoy a healthy lifestyle and continue to remain active and engaged." said St. Johns County Board of County Commission Chair, Mr. James Johns.

"Being recognized as the healthiest county in the state for six years in a row reflects the passion every public and private agency in St. Johns County has for improving the quality of life where we live and work," stated Flagler Hospital President & CEO Joe Gordy. "Our focus on improving access to care, addressing community health needs, and improving population health is ongoing and extends well beyond the hospital's walls. In fact, we have recently formed St. Johns Care Connect, a community alliance led by Flagler Hospital to connect area residents in need with available services and address social determinants of health in a more coordinated way."

"We recognize that many of the health factors utilized in the rankings are directly tied to the support children receive in school and throughout the community," said St. Johns County Superintendent Mr. Tim Forson. "I commend the dedication of our educators, families, and community partners to ensure the health and safety of our students."

"Notwithstanding the excellent care from area hospitals, our health department, and fire rescue professionals; St. Johns County maintains an excellent quality of life with access to trails, beaches and community parks, for which to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is this level of community involvement from both public and private institutions that help make this county one of the greatest place to live." said Sheriff David Shoar, St. Johns County Sheriff Office.

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

In St. Johns 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 partners with many stakeholders to implement the CHIP and collaborates to set goals and monitor progress through the St. Johns County Health Leadership Council. The Rankings complement ongoing CHIP efforts and serve as a springboard for community-wide discussion about improving overall health which will be utilized in 2017 Community Health Assessment activities this year.

More information on the national County Health Rankings report can be accessed via the web at: www.CountyHealthRankings.org

About the Florida Department of Health

Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. 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 national 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.

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