Collaborative efforts improve health rankings

Jefferson and Walker Counties are now healthier communities according to the latest County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Both counties saw improvements in their ranking for health behaviors and health factors over the last five years, with Jefferson County improving its health behavior ranking from 22nd in the state in 2015 to 3rd in 2016, and its health factor ranking from 10th in 2015 to 3rd in 2016. Walker County, considered the unhealthiest of the state’s 67 counties in 2015, moved up five places to reach 62nd in health outcomes for Alabama counties.

The categories measured include length of life, quality of life, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

A collaborative goal-setting effort led by the Bold Goals Coalition and the Jefferson and Walker County Health Action Partnerships, both supported by United Way, helped move the rankings forward.

United Way of Central Alabama is a founding member of the Jefferson County Health Action Partnership, established in 2007, and the Walker County Health Action Partnership, established in 2013. The collective efforts are designed to foster community-based collaborations that mobilize local support to make Jefferson and Walker Counties healthier places to live, learn, work and play.

“A big part of that growth is a result of the health action partners we have in those counties,” said Drew Langloh, President and CEO of United Way of Central Alabama. “Working through the Bold Goals Coalition, we’ve been able to draw even more collaborative support by aligning resources to ensure equitable access and aggressive prevention efforts that lead to healthy living.”

Dow Briggs, Senior Vice President of Business Operations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and Gordon G. Martin Senior Vice President & General Counsel of Alabama Power Company, co-chair the Bold Goals Healthy Communities Committee.

The Bold Goals Coalition partners with communities throughout the five county region to identify evidence-based strategies. The Healthy Communities strategies concentrate on the areas of prevention and access to care with a focus on decreasing existing health disparities in the region. Through county specific Health Action Partnerships and identifying evidence-based strategies, the Healthy Communities workgroup seeks to improve access to environments and care that empower individuals to make choices that will positively improve health.

United Way of Central Alabama Inc. supports health and human service programs and agencies that provide solutions for the most important needs in the community. Its business is to improve lives and community conditions by building and mobilizing resources. To learn more about United Way’s impact in your community  visit

Bold Goals Healthy Communities Initiative: