Using County Health Rankings to Make a Difference

27 Mar 2014
The P2 Collaborative of Western New York was featured on a webinar unveiling the 2014 County Health Rankings for their work in finding county-specific health problems and working to implement interventions.
Western New York is made up of eight counties, all of which have suffered economically over the past few years. The region has high levels of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Shelley Hirshberg, of the P2 Collaborative, said, “The county health rankings have given us the ability to look at each of our counties, see how they compare to the rest of the counties in New York State so they can understand the challenges and look at what types of programs and initiatives really need to be designed.”
The P2 Collaborative initially focused on clinical care and quality improvement but realized it needed to look upstream for the root causes of poor health. Using the County Health Rankings, areas of concern have been identified in different counties and programs implemented to address the problems. The Baby Café program in Buffalo and Erie counties, for example, provides clinical and social support for expecting and breastfeeding mothers. In Chatauqua County, the program Creating Healthy Places strives to promote healthy lifestyles including a farm to school initiative. Ann Morse Abdella, of the Chautauqua County Health Network, explains: “You make it easy for them. You make it easy for them to walk somewhere as opposed feeling like they’re in peril every time they cross the street.”
In Cataraugas County, the town of Salamanca looked at the County Health Rankings and realized it was toward the “bottom of the barrel” regarding health and wellness. The town recognized it needed to do something about the infrastructure, and the Healthy Streets program was begun. Approximately 4,000 sidewalk blocks will be replaced to make the area safer and more accessible.
Watch the video below: