Oneida County Health Rankings Show Steady Improvement

Continued Collaboration with Community Partners Identifying Issues

Oneida County’s ranking in two key areas has steadily improved in a statewide report comparing the health of New York’s 62 counties.

According to the 2019 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, Oneida County ranked 49th for overall Health Outcomes, a small improvement from its slot of 51st last year and 52nd place in 2017. The Health Outcomes category measures indicators like length and quality of life.

In the category of Health Factors, Oneida County ranked 37th, another bump from last year’s spot at 41st and 52nd place in 2017. The Health Factors category measures indicators like health behaviors, clinical care and social and economic factors.

“It is clear good health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care, including housing, education, jobs and other socio-economic issues,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “There are no real surprises in the report, and we of course still have work to do, but we are pleased to see we are making headway in our efforts to improve the health of Oneida County residents.”

The county health rankings look at the overall health of our county and compare it with the health of all 62 counties in New York State. The rank of a particular county can be influenced by a number of factors including how other counties have performed and it is most useful to look at changes in specific measures over time.

The Oneida County Health Department will continue working with health partner agencies on education and prevention efforts to decrease adult smoking rates through local quit smoking classes, education outreach and referrals to the NYS Quitline. It is also addressing the county’s changing health and behavior trends such as the continued rise in e-cigarette use among youth. In addition, the Oneida County Overdose Response Team — a collaboration of area crisis response partners — continues to work to collect real-time overdose surveillance data and link overdose victims to treatment.

In a continued effort to combat obesity rates and offset the incidence rates of a number of diseases, county officials will move forward on their “Creating Healthy Schools and Communities” initiative, focusing on two main contributing factors to obesity: nutrition and physical activity. The aim is to increase awareness of nutrition concepts and physical activity strategies by providing resources to enable individuals to make diet and exercise lifestyle changes.

“Creating a healthier community is about opportunity and bringing all stakeholders and partners into the discussion and effort to shape solutions,” said Oneida County Director of Health Phyllis D. Ellis, BSN, MS, F.A.C.H.E. “It is important that we evaluate the health of our community through collaboration and partnership. Health is everyone’s business.”

According to Ellis, the Health Department’s upcoming Community Health Assessment Survey allows community stakeholders, including representatives of health care, mental and behavioral health, law enforcement, schools, emergency services, business and transportation to identify health issues in the community.

A survey to include questions addressing key areas of health will be developed in the next month and circulated to the community at large later this spring. The assessment is meant to be snapshot of the health of our community, and will be used to develop strategies and plans for improvement for the community.

Another direct outreach measure used to monitor the health status of the community is the County Health Department’s Report Cards. Since 2016, the Oneida County Health Department has engaged with community partners to analyze emerging trends and major health issues and how they impact us locally by developing reports cards to guide decisions and programs, funding and services to address identified issues. Recent Reports Cards have addressed pressing health issues in our community including opioids, substance use, mental health, obesity and domestic violence.

The best way to know how our youth are doing is to ask them directly, and Oneida County officials will be conducting another Teen Assessment Project (TAP) survey this spring. TAP surveys are conducted every four years and serve as a confidential and anonymous way for a large number of youth to respond directly to a wide range of health and behavior-related questions. Responses are documented and analyzed, and provide a unique assessment on the status of youth in Oneida County.

Oneida County reports can be located on the Health Department’s website at: www.ocgov.net/health/DataPub

The 2019 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Rankings are available at: www.countyhealthrankings.org.