The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

October 5, 2012

Garfield County gets a 'D' in health

ENID, Okla. — When it comes time to rank health factors for American communities and counties, Garfield County takes a failing grade in one of the least healthy states in the nation.

According to the 2011 State of the State’s Health Report, published by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Garfield County ranks 26th out of 77 counties in overall health rankings, and the state currently is ranked 48th out of the 50 states.

In the 2011 report, the county earned an F in nine of 33 categories; was awarded a B, the top grade for the county, in only three categories; and was given a D rating overall.

Garfield County Health Department is working to improve those statistics with the help of more than 20 local social service, public health and prevention organizations.

The coalition met Friday to set priorities in a long-term public health improvement plan dubbed Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership (MAPP), a state and national initiative guided by National Association of City and County Health Officials.

Teresa Bailey, RN, Garfield County Health Department accreditation coordinator, told the coalition members Garfield County has many areas of concern, but they needed to select 10 areas in which the health department and coalition would focus their efforts.

“These top-10 topics are what will lead us into our community health improvement plan, and we need to pick areas where we can do something, where we can have an impact,” Bailey said.

Mary Beth Wrenn, district nurse manager for Garfield, Grant, Major and Alfalfa counties, urged coalition members to focus on causal factors that affect broader health issues in the community.

“So many of these problems have underlying issues that are across the board ... they really have commonalities,” Wrenn said. “We have to look at the issues that are within our realm as a community to address.”

The coalition set its priorities based on evidence gathered by member agencies, public input from a community listening session that occurred in June, and OSDH data.

Using available data, the coalition finalized its list of 10 priority health concerns Friday, focusing primarily on areas in which the county has received recent ‘F’ grades in its OSDH rankings.

The selected 10 focus areas are: obesity; tobacco use; infant mortality rate; access to health care services; substance abuse and access to mental health care; chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke; lack of physical exercise; teen pregnancy; unintentional injury; and domestic violence.

The MAPP process will continue with a lengthy public health assessment, culminating in a Community Health Improvement Plan that will be filed with OSDH.

Bailey said no single organization could tackle all of the public health issues involved in the MAPP process, but a coordinated effort between all of the coalition members could have a significant impact on the health of the Enid community.

“It’s all about collaboration, because no one entity can do it alone,” Bailey said. “But, if we all join forces, we can do it together.”

More information on the county MAPP process can be found on the Garfield County-MAPP Facebook page.

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