Every year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute release the County Health Rankings, a tool to benchmark health outcomes in each county and identify top factors that influence a county’s health. In 2018, Jefferson County was ranked as the 8th healthiest county in Colorado based on health outcomes, and 13th based on health factors (of 58 ranked counties). This is an improvement from 2017, where Jefferson County ranked 11th and 14th, respectively. We are very proud of our progress and pleased to be one of the top-ranking counties in the state.According to the Rankings, areas of strength in Jefferson County include positive health behaviors, such as a physically active community and a low number of teen pregnancies. Jefferson County also scored very well on access to clinical care — most people have health insurance, and there are enough physicians and dentists to serve our community. And when looking at the determinants of health, our community is largely educated, employed and earning a living wage. As a whole, Jefferson County is a healthy, thriving community.But as we celebrate strong population health, it’s our responsibility as Jefferson County’s public health leader to dig deeper. Issues like smoking and excessive drinking, severe housing problems and poor air quality persist — and often have a greater effect on our county’s most vulnerable populations. A person of American Indian/Alaska Native ethnicity is more likely to smoke tobacco. A low-income individual is more likely to struggle to find affordable and stable housing. An older adult or young child is more likely to suffer from respiratory issues from air pollution. And while we scored well on access to care overall, it’s still difficult for some populations to get the care they need.
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) and other community organizations are continuing to make progress in these areas. Below are just a few examples:
These areas for improvement were also identified in our ongoing Community Health Needs Assessment, which will help prioritize JCPH’s work through our forthcoming Community Health Improvement Plan. Many of these issues are regional challenges, and we are working with our neighboring counties to address them as part of the Metro Denver Partnership for Health.
At JCPH, our goal is to ensure the best health possible for all people — regardless of race/ethnicity, income, age, gender, disabilities or other root causes of health. This means working with our partners to keep our healthier populations healthy, and finding equitable solutions to make sure others aren’t left behind.
To learn more about the Rankings and explore population health data for Jefferson County and others in Colorado, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org/.