We’ve known about these problems forever, but anti-intellectual elected officials still doubt that population-level public health policy is a thing that works. They’re wrong, and should listen to the actual experts.
The Lehigh Valley is a great place to recover from illness, but not a good place to stay healthy, a groundbreaking partnership of the Lehigh Valley’s nonprofit hospitals reports in a profile of the region’s health released Monday.
“The Road to Health — Community Health Profile 2012” is a first-step document in a process that will take between five to 10 years, said Ron Dendas, program officer at the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust, one of the partners.
The report is an assessment of health data collected and analyzed by representatives of the trust, Lehigh Valley Health Network, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Sacred Heart Healthcare System and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network.
The assessment found that compared to the rest of Pennsylvania and the United States, the Lehigh Valley’s death rates are better than most. However, measurements of illness show that the Valley lags most of the state and nation. The report uses data on such things as heart disease, cancer, stroke, injury and diabetes and compared Lehigh and Northampton county rates to state and national rates. It also features public opinion data gathered by the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium.
The findings are not surprising to public health officials in the region. The significance of the report, however, is that it represents a more unified, regional approach to addressing health needs and provides measurable goals.