New Health Rankings Trending Up - United Way of Central Alabama

New Health Rankings Trending Up

Bold Goals and Health Action Partnership’s service areas show improvements

Birmingham, AL– Jefferson and Walker County made significant improvements in overall health outcomes according to the eighth annual County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI).

Jefferson County moved up in the state rankings from #28 to #17 in health outcomes. Walker County improved from #62 to #58.  Shelby County remained in the #1 spot as the Healthiest County in Alabama.

The Bold Goals Coalition has focused efforts on building Healthy Communities, and the coalition works in collaboration with the Jefferson and Walker County Health Action Partnerships. Their strategies concentrate on prevention, access to care, and a focus on decreasing existing health disparities in a five county, Central Alabama region.   By 2025, the Bold Goal is that all Central Alabama counties will be ranked in the top 10 in Alabama for health outcomes as measured by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“By identifying evidence-based strategies, the Healthy Communities workgroup of Bold Goals is increasing access to environments and care that empower individuals to make choices that will positively improve health. This method continues to show measurable results,” said Drew Langloh, President  & CEO, United Way of Central Alabama who is also the 2017 Chair of the Health Action Partnership of Jefferson County.

Other improvements in the five counties targeted by the Bold Goals Coalition include Jefferson County’s quality of life, which improved from #25 to #13 and Walker County’s health behaviors climbing from #37 to #26.

“I am greatly encouraged to see Jefferson County move up in the rankings so dramatically. But we mustn’t become complacent. The report also highlights several areas, such as children in poverty, violent crime, and excessive commute times, that are difficult challenges to overcome,” said Mark Wilson, MD,  Jefferson County Health Officer.

The Rankings have become an important tool for communities that want to improve health for all. The Rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

Bold Goals has a number of initiatives underway to expand health opportunities for residents, including expanding summer feeding programs to serve healthy meals to over 2,000 children from food-insecure households in 2016, building trails and recreation spaces for physical activity, expanding mental health services in schools, and engaging rural residents at churches to provide health services, such as blood pressure and blood sugar screenings and health insurance enrollment assistance.

About the Bold Goals Coalition: The Bold Goals Coalition of Central Alabama (BGCCA), supported by United Way of Central Alabama, is a community-based initiative to align efforts and address disparities in education, financial stability and health in our region. The workgroups are made up of key regional leaders from businesses, non-profits, government and education systems. For more information, visit www.boldgoals.org

About Health Action Partnerships: Health Action Partnerships are coalitions of more than 80 organizations and agencies working together to make Central Alabama, a healthier place to live, learn, work and play. There are currently partnerships in Jefferson and Walker Counties. For more information, visit healthactionpartnership.org or walkerhealthaction.org

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels.  The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the RWJF Culture of Health Prize. For more information, visit http://uwphi.pophealth.wisc.edu.