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Fri, Jan. 24

Yavapai County Community Health Services: Unveiling health ‘dashboard’ with data, advice

On the set of “Your Healthy Kitchen.” (YRMC/Courtesy)

On the set of “Your Healthy Kitchen.” (YRMC/Courtesy)

The “Working Toward Healthier Communities” dashboard is available on the Yavapai County Community Health Services website: www.yavapai.us/chs

If you want to know the life expectancy in Prescott, the health and wellness programs to allow one to age in style, and how many children in this community get vaccinated, the Yavapai County Community Health Services wants you to check out its new dashboard.

Just like in one’s car, this health-related dashboard is a tool to help the “driver” as he or she proceeds on the journey through life.

For individuals, the dashboard offers information one might need to stay healthy or get healthy. For providers, the dashboard offers data required to create or expand programs to address health issues impacting the county.

The user-friendly guide accessible on the YCCHS website “has so much data,” said Terri Farneti, the department’s public health coordinator of the three-year $30,000 annual investment that will be regularly updated with the latest statistics.

“There is so much people can find there,” Farneti said of the “living document” created last year through mySidewalk, a Kansas City, Missouri company. Farneti is credited with playing a key role in creating the easy-to-read, easy-to-digest commentary. “I think people have to kind of explore it.”

PURPOSE

YCCHS contracted with mySidewalk because of its mission to “empower city leaders and the public with the most complete, clear and real-time understanding of their communities so they can improve and innovate together.”

The dashboard aligns with YCCHS’ existing community health assessment and community health improvement plan. The next assessment is slated for 2022.

“The right data presented in the right way at the right time makes visible the powerful connection between health outcomes, access to health acre and local social, economic and environmental policies,” the company said in its explanatory statement about the dashboard project. “Their solutions are rooted in data-driven storytelling that is accessible, engaging and beautiful.”

The dashboard opens with life expectancy.

In Yavapai County, it is 78.8 years just slightly higher than the state average.

From there, the story turns to quality of life, with Yavapai County earning serious bragging rights as it is listed as the top of all 15 Arizona counties when it comes to positive health factors. It is No. 6 in its health outcomes ranking.

“The role of public health is no longer limited to preventing only acute illnesses linked to issues around sanitation and environmental health,” according to the document commentary. “Throughout this resource, you’ll learn more about key factors in our environment that influence our everyday health behaviors. Together as a community, we can leverage these factors to move the needle on health outcomes.”

Such things as places to walk, hike, kayak, take dance or exercise lessons, or shop at a farmers market are all factors that can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

In Yavapai County, and particularly in the greater Prescott area, there are multiple opportunities for people of all ages to participate in a range of activities — many at no cost — to stay healthy into the twilight years. Most Yavapai County residents indicate that they provide regular vaccinations to children; the data indicates that only 7.7 percent of families use a personal exemption to exclude their kindergartners from vaccination. The state average is just 3.8 percent.

The dashboard indicates that 54 percent of Yavapai County residents exercise regularly.

STATISTICS

Yavapai County, though, also has its share of challenges.

The dashboard data indicates that some 14 percent of people in Yavapai County are living in poverty; the median household income is $50,180 versus the state median household income of $56,213. Some 46 percent of renters and 27 percent of homeowners are spending more than 30 percent of their incomes just on shelter. Nine percent of households are headed up by a single parent.

The data indicates that 24 percent of Yavapai County adults are obese and only 40 percent eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

Some 32,870 of the county’s 225,000 population are considered food insecure, just over 8,000 of those are children.

The good news is that there are numerous agencies across the county that are seeking to provide assistance, including Meals on Wheels of Prescott, Yavapai County Emergency Food Relief, Yavapai Food Neighbors Project and the Manzanita Outreach in the Verde Valley.

The dashboard indicates that 67 percent of residents live within one mile of a store that sells fresh produce. Eight percent live within 10 miles of such stores.

Behavioral health is a major concern in the area, with 30 per 100,000 people committing suicide versus 18 per 100,000 across Arizona.

Again, there are numerous mental health resources that are striving to offer resources to help those struggling with mental health and addiction issues, including MatForce, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic and Spectrum Healthcare.

“This is all about heightening awareness about priorities in the county,” Farneti said, noting there is a section related to the need for public transportation as a means to assuring access to adequate health care. “

DIRECTION

Community Health Services Director Leslie Horton said the goal of her department, and public health, is to design programs for “the people we hope to serve” in the community. Often, though, it can be difficult to find the data related to issues the department wishes to explore, she said.

The dashboard offers a single place to access some of this key data with charts, graphics, photographs and story-style information that makes it easier to make public presentations and seek grant funds for services, Horton said.

“This is a great thing for our department, but our hope is it can be used by our partner agencies, as well as local health providers, students and anyone else who is looking to find out more about Yavapai County and the health issues and health benefits “of this place in our beautiful county.”

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