PLACE MATTERS is a national initiative of the Joint Center, designed to build the capacity of local leaders around the country to identify and improve social, economic, and environmental conditions that shape health. Interviews with six of the PLACE MATTERS teams were featured last week in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s NewPublicHealth blog. Follow along as we post excerpts throughout the week on why #PlaceMatters is key to eliminating health disparities.
Below is an excerpt from the Jefferson County, Alabama PLACE MATTERS team:
Jefferson County, Alabama is the most populous county in the state. The Place Matters team, headquartered at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, found that the county leads the nation in chronic diseases and conditions linked to premature death, disability, decreased productivity and high health care costs. The leading causes of death in the county are heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and the county also exceeds state and national rates for obesity.
…Baskin, who has led the team for two and half years, said it has so far focused on improving access to healthy, affordable foods; physical activity opportunities; and obesity-related issues. The team also released a health equity report about the county, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Birmingham campaign, a touchstone moment in the U.S. civil rights movement.
“The report really identified that there is quite a bit of variation in the county as it relates to racial concentration, poverty, life expectancy, infant mortality and healthy food access in particular, so that communities within the county that tend to have more whites or be more affluent definitely had better health outcomes,” said Baskin.
Click here to read the full interview.
Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center