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For Immediate Release
March 26th, 2014
Contact: Deb Millsap (239) 252- 8220

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH IN COLLIER COUNTY ADDRESSES COUNTY HEALTH RANKINGS

Naples: The Florida Department of Health in Collier County recognizes the value in measuring health outcomes and today acknowledged the 5th annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This study, www.countyhealthrankings.org, highlights the many community factors that influence health and uses established data, much of which is available from the Department at www.floridacharts.com.

“We are pleased to learn Collier County is ranked the second healthiest place in Florida to live, learn, work and play. This accomplishment is due to strong engagement and collaboration of many community partners, as well as every individual in our community who makes the choice to be active, eat well and practice safe and healthy behaviors,” applauds Joan Colfer, MD, MPH, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Collier County.

These rankings are a snapshot of the health of counties across the country and they emphasize health is not a singular effort but a combined work in progress across all community partners. The Department works in collaboration with local governments, non-profit organizations, health care facilities, business groups, schools, law enforcement, faith-based organizations and many other stakeholders to improve the health of all people in Collier County. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.

In Collier County, the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is designed to address specific opportunities for improved health that have been identified by the community. The Department has partnered with many stakeholders to implement the CHIP and collaborates regularly to track progress. Data drives this process. Using County Health Rankings (CHR) data, along with the latest Community Health Assessment, obesity was identified as one of the most significant public health issues facing our community. In response, Dr. Colfer created a leadership group to look at how, collectively, we can reduce the obesity epidemic. Several plans are in place, including strengthening breastfeeding support, working with growth management and transportation officials to improve connectivity in the built environment and offering worksite wellness education to businesses, to help address this epidemic.

Obesity and tobacco use, account for almost 35% of all preventable and premature deaths in Collier annually. According to the CHR 2014, 15% of Collier adults smoke. To reduce this number, Florida Department of Health in Collier County works closely with businesses to assist them in creating tobacco-free work place policies and campuses, strives to create policies to reduce tobacco advertising to youth and promotes the “3 FREE Ways to Quit” to anyone desiring tobacco cessation support.

“Helping people live longer, happier and healthier lives is a goal which is further substantiated by our current excellent ranking. However, this is a long journey and as a state we still have room for improvement,” reminds Allen Weiss, MD, President & CEO of NCH Healthcare System.

Lauren Governale, DMD, Clinical Director, NCEF Pediatric Dental Center, praised, “Good news for Collier County! I’m pleased to see that for the first time a measure for access to dental care has been included in the rankings. Collier County has more dentists per people (1:1,676) than state average (1:1,981). Collier County is extremely fortunate to have a state-of-the art Pediatric Dental Center delivering advanced care and specialty services as a solution to address the severe unmet need of the underserved children in the community. However, due to lack of adequate reimbursement for adult dental care, there is a statewide shortage of dental care for indigent adults. It would be wonderful if more opportunities for dental care serving at-risk adults existed in the County.”

Recognizing the rankings bode well for Collier businesses, John Cox, President & CEO, Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, comments, “Collier’s #2 top ranking as the second most healthy county in Florida has a strong economic message, namely the cost of business is lower because our employees are healthier, they live longer and are better prepared to meet the demands of business. We live long and prosper!”

Collier County Medical Society (CCMS) Executive Director, April Donahue, responds to the rankings, “CCMS is gratified by our county’s number 2 rating, which helps demonstrate the quality care our physicians provide and the hard work of our citizens to be healthy. A strong partnership between organizations such as the Medical Society and its physicians, and the residents of our community, will help us improve and strive toward number 1.”

The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

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is March 23, 2011

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This page was last modified on: 04/16/2014 11:26:55



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