We all know that health, and mental health, are not aspects of our life solely connected to the doctor’s or therapist’s office. Now, for the health and systems theory conscious social workers, there happens to be a resource available to help look at the health ranking and factors within the counties we work. Along the way there might even be some insight into the steps we can take towards health improvement.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute have recently partnered together to create the National County Health Raking and Roadmaps program. The program, which aims to rank counties in respect to specific health related factors and offer action plans for creating healthier counties and nations, is described below:
“County Health Rankings & Roadmaps help communities create solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their own communities, focusing on specific factors that we know affect health, such as education and income. Having health insurance and quality health care are important to our health, but we need leadership and action beyond health care.
Ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation, the County Health Rankings illustrate what we know when it comes to what’s making people sick or healthy. The County Health Roadmaps show what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play.”
The Ranking program is available online, and is an interactive website which allows the viewers to search states to see the counties in ranked order, and also allows you to interact with county data: such as county income or percentage of restaurants within the county which are fast food restaurants. In addition, the Roadmaps component offers viewers a means to understand and analyze the data, methods through which they can take action to improve health, and provides information on available grants as well as evidence based policies and programs. If that is not enough, you can receive personalized free help to set you in the right direction if you want to take action.
This is a great resource for the entire social work community to get a better look at the health around them and to takes steps to improve it!
Written by Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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