The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings released its 10th annual County Health Rankings on March 18. The report includes data on health outcomes and behaviors that contribute to health and then rates counties separately on these metrics. The 2019 report ranked Erie County as 56th and Niagara County as the 58th least healthy counties out of the 62 in New York State. These rankings remained the same from the 2018 report.
Based on these results, the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo announced the launch of the Healthy Communities 2030! initiative which will provide a framework for a 10-year plan to improve our health status and quality of life, with the vision of Erie and Niagara counties ranked 47th and 49th in the state by 2030. The Initiative will achieve its vision by following an inter-sector, inter-disciplinary approach to implement strategic and comprehensive efforts to improve our health status.
Healthy Communities 2030! will serve as an umbrella initiative to foster collaboration and inclusivity between health promotion organizations and local communities. In order to achieve these partnerships and be inclusive to all groups, our region will need to build and utilize its social capital. Social capital is the networks of relationships among people who live, work and play, and the norms of trust and reciprocity within those relationships.
Lucy Connery, co-director of Healthy Communities 2030! stated, “The metrics from the county health rankings support the Healthy Communities 2030! framework that we need to shift our focus towards prevention and health promotion. Our poor health comes from chronic health conditions, meaning we need to look at our health behaviors and culture in the long term instead of the short term.”
For more information or to get involved in the Healthy Communities 2030! initiative, contact Lucy or Phil at the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo at BeActive@City-Buffalo.org or 851-4052, or visit CreatingHealthyCommunities.org.