Report: Dubois 12th healthiest county in state

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

According to a recently-published report, Dubois County is healthier today than it was a year ago.

The county is ranked as the 12th healthiest of Indiana’s 92 counties, according to a new report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which analyzes health outcomes. That ranking is up from 23rd in 2018.

See Dubois County's full 2019 report here.

Jo Ann Spaulding, administrative director of the Dubois County Health Department, credited the leap to the county’s Public Health Partnership, health committees and other collaborators, as well as the proactive mentality that prevails in the community.

“Health happens where we live, learn, work and play,” she wrote in a press release. “This report is important because it helps us identify factors that are affecting our residents and understand how we compare to other counties in the state. Our ranking in this report helps us identify areas where we have succeeded in our county and where we still need to do more.”

The good: According to the report, physical inactivity rates decreased in the county, meaning more people are being active. The county’s food insecurity rate dropped, and the ratio of mental health providers to residents also increased.

Another part of the report ranks Dubois County fourth in terms of health factors, which are based on health behaviors, clinical care, and social and economic and physical environment factors. The county maintained its No. 4 ranking in the state in that category, with the percentage of county high school graduates going up, as well as the percentage of residents with a college education.

The bad: Based on the report, the county experienced an increase in diabetes prevalence and an increase in adult obesity.

“So, that’s something new that we’re looking into,” Spaulding said in a Friday phone interview. “I know the county is looking at ways we can improve. Especially within our employment opportunities. What can the human resources departments within those big players of our county, what can we do collaboratively in looking at our diabetes and obesity?”

Jasper Engines and Transmissions, for example, offers a health and wellness program for employees, and people employed by Dubois County have been offered a diabetes management program.

“Good things are happening,” Spaulding said. “I know that some of the other committees are looking at ways to improve, and how we can tackle this to hopefully continue to keep our ranking among the top for the healthiest in Indiana.”

The 2019 County Health Rankings are a collection of 50 reports that reflect the overall health of counties in every state across the country.

“Everyone has a stake in community health,” Spaulding wrote in the release. “We all need to work together to find solutions.”

The release concludes with her writing that it’s good news that there are more than 100 health-care and social-service agencies in Dubois County, supporting a health-care and public-health-care workforce of over 2,700 health-care-related jobs.

“The Public Health Partnership is committed to enhancing systematic performance and improving the health and wellness of Dubois County,” the release reads. “I am happy to be a collaborating partner with this group.”

In 2018, Dubois County ranked 23rd in health outcomes and fourth in health factors. In 2017, the county ranked 14th and fourth, respectively.


Neighboring counties’ 2019 rankings:
• Spencer: 8th
• Warrick: 22nd
• Pike: 60th
• Daviess: 36th
• Martin: 31st
• Orange: 67th
• Crawford: 82nd
• Perry: 48th




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com