The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department announces the release of its 2019 Picture of Our Health community health profile for Hamilton County. The report is a broad picture of the health of Hamilton County residents compiled from local, state, and federal data sources. It was last updated in 2015.
“This report helps guide our community’s efforts in targeting prevention initiatives, improving health care, and influencing public policy,” says Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes, “It shows us what’s working well and where we as a community need to focus our efforts.”
Over 100 health status indicators are grouped into eleven major topic areas. Some of the bright spots include:
- Opioid prescriptions dropped 15% over the last 3 years.
- From 2010 to 2016, teen birth rates in Hamilton County decreased by 34%.
Some areas of concern are:
- 32,303 Hamilton County residents remain uninsured in 2017.
- In 2017, there were 85 fatal drug overdoses. Of these 85 deaths, 60 (71%) involved opioids.
The report also focuses on health disparities. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or in opportunities to achieve optimal health experienced by socially disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and other population groups, and communities. One notable example from our local data is that Black mothers are 2.4 times more likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby than White mothers.
The report reinforces the critical need for partnerships between government, private industry, non-profit, and faith-based organizations. Each of these health indicators are like a complex puzzle, especially when examining them through the health disparities lens. Oftentimes, an organization is only equipped to work on its piece of the puzzle. However, when the pieces come together, we all move closer to the solution. Only by working together can we make Hamilton County a safer and healthier place in which to live, to work, to learn, to worship, and to play.
To view the entire report, visit the Health Department’s website here.