The Oklahoma Eagle Newswire
Tulsa Health Department is pleased to share that Tulsa County is now ranked #13 out of the 77 counties in the state of Oklahoma, according to the tenth annual County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI).
These ratings give a snapshot that compares counties within states to show that where you live influences how well and how long you live. The local-level data make it clear that good health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care including housing, education and jobs. THD has monitored these rankings and has noticed an improved trend. In 2011, Tulsa County was ranked at #27.
“We are thrilled to see Tulsa County move up in the rankings,” said THD Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “Tulsa’s climb up in the rankings indicates the success possible when a community comes together around health improvement. It really takes a village, and this success is attributed to the exceptional work of our community partners and community members. Public health programs and services, along with the efforts of our community partner initiatives, are continually improving the overall health of Tulsa County residents.”
The Rankings allow counties to compare their neighbors in each state on more than 30 factors – such as high school graduation rates and children in poverty – and help communities move with data to action to build a culture of health together in new and creative ways. And we are using this year’s Rankings as a call to action to address our opportunity with gaps in social and economic factors so that every resident in Tulsa County has an equal opportunity to be healthy.
“We’ve advocated for daily changes in living a more active lifestyle,” said Dart. “And the results are evident in the latest county health rankings. For example, adult obesity and physical inactivity have both decreased in the last year. We have a multimedia campaign called ‘Be the Big Kid’ that encourages parents to lead by example with an active lifestyle and play with their kids.”
Other key areas of improvement include a reduction in alcohol-impaired driving deaths. The Tulsa Health Department’s Regional Prevention Coordinator program provides free monthly training on responsible beverage sales and service, as well as partners with local law enforcement to conduct alcohol compliance checks and DUI checkpoints. The teen birth rate decreased as well, due largely in part to the efforts of THD’s teen pregnancy prevention program in conjunction with the Tulsa County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition and partners like the Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
Even as Tulsa County continues to rise on the rankings, THD remains committed to tackling other lower ranked health concerns such as smoking cessation. THD currently offers adult health screenings and quit tobacco support as a community outreach for healthy living. In 2017, the Tulsa Health Department worked with community partners and the City of Tulsa on an ordinance to make all city parks tobacco free.
“While we celebrate every milestone improvement, our vision is for Tulsa County to be the healthiest county in the country. We will continue our efforts to improve the health and well-being of Tulsa County residents through partnerships, programs and policy changes,” said Dart.