Dubois County is ranked as the fourth healthiest county in Indiana according to a new report released yesterday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The 2013 County Health Rankings are a collection of 50 reports that reflect the overall health of counties in every state across the country.   Annually, counties receive a snapshot of how healthy their residents are by comparing their overall health and the factors that influence their health with other counties in their state. This allows communities to see county-to-county where they are doing well and where they need to improve.

Dubois County ranked fourth in health outcomes and sixth in health factors. Hamilton County, on the north side of Indianapolis, was ranked as the healthiest county in Indiana, followed by Hendricks County on the westside of Indianapolis in second and Boone County, on the northwest side of Indianapolis, came  in third.

The health outcomes ranking is based on measures of mortality and morbidity. The mortality rank, representing length of life, is based on a measure of premature death: the years of potential life lost prior to age 75. The morbidity rank is based on measures that represent health-related quality of life and birth outcomes.   Four morbidity measures are combined: self-reported fair or poor health, poor physical health days, poor mental health days, and the percent of births with low birth weight.

The health factors ranking is based on four factors: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic, and physical environment factors. In turn, each of these factors is based on several measures. Health behaviors include measures of smoking, diet and exercise, alcohol use, and risky sex behavior. Clinical care includes measures of access to care and quality of care. Social and economic factors include measures of education, employment, income, family and social support, and community safety. The physical environment includes measures of environmental quality and the built environment.

Dubois County Public Health Partnership as an example of this collaboration.  This group was formed to assure the healthcare and public health services that best serve the needs of the population are provided.  Members of the Partnership include: Memorial Hospital, TRI-CAP, Generations, Southern Hills, all county school corporations, VUJC, Kimball International, OFS Brands, Wabash Valley Produce, Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Crisis Connection, Purdue Extension, government officials and the Dubois County Health Department.

Public health accreditation is a national program for state, local, territorial and tribal public health departments.  The goal of the accreditation program is to improve and protect the health of every community by advancing the quality and performance of public health departments.

The online report can be found at www.countyhealthrankings.org.