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Florida Department of Health in Pasco County Addresses County Health Rankings

By Melissa Watts

March 16, 2018

Pasco County, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County (DOH-Pasco) recognizes the value in measuring health outcomes and acknowledged the 2018 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This study highlights the many community factors that influence health and uses established data, much of which is available from the department at www.FLHealthCHARTS.com

Pasco County ranks 38th in Florida for overall Health Outcomes in the 2018 County Health Rankings. Health Officer, Mike Napier had this to say: 

“It is disappointing to see Pasco drop three spots in the rankings. However, we are not discouraged, as it takes more than one year to register impacts related to improve access to care, Healthy Start, and the many other areas being worked on in our Community Health Improvement Plan.” 

These rankings are a snapshot of the health of counties across the country and they emphasize that health is not a singular effort but a combined work in progress across all community partners. The department works in collaboration with local governments, non-profit organizations, health care facilities, business groups, schools, faith-based organizations and many other stakeholders to improve the health of all people in Pasco County. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.

In Pasco County, the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is designed to address specific opportunities for improved health that have been identified by the community. The department has partnered with many stakeholders to implement the CHIP and collaborates regularly to track progress. 

With partnerships organized through the CHIP, Pasco County Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources is working toward implementing healthier concession stands at Pasco County parks. The healthy concessions will utilize “Fun Bites” guidelines, which focus on portion-controlled snacks that are lower in calories, sugar, fat and sodium and are offered at a reduced cost. 

In addition to increasing healthier food options, DOH-Pasco has implemented a “Move More” countywide initiative that aims to increase awareness of and access to physical activities throughout the county. “Move More” provides resources and activity-based challenges for people of all ages. For additional information go to pasco.floridahealth.gov and click on Healthy Habits or email Amina.Ahmed@flhealth.gov

The Pasco County Tobacco Prevention Program works with Tobacco Free Florida and other community partners to promote tobacco-free living. The Tobacco Prevention Program uses multiple strategies to reduce tobacco use in Pasco County, which include:

  • Preventing the initiation of tobacco use among Pasco’s youth and young adults by educating them on the dangers of tobacco and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) use, implementing smokefree and tobacco free policies at workplaces and colleges.
  • Eliminating Pasco residents’ exposure to secondhand smoke by creating smokefree policies in densely populated areas, like the Pasco County Fair.
  • Promoting quitting among Pasco adults and youth by promoting Tobacco Free Florida’s “Quit Your Way Campaign.”
  • Educating Pasco residents about the dangers associated with tobacco and ENDS use at community meetings and schools. 

DOH-Pasco’s Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers free or low-cost breast and cervical screenings for eligible women 50-64 who reside in Pasco County. Eligibility is based on low household income and lack of health insurance that covers breast and cervical cancer screenings. The breast screening includes a clinical breast exam at a DOH-Pasco or community partner clinic and a mammogram voucher redeemed at one of our partner radiology facilities. The cervical screening includes a pelvic exam and a Pap test. This is a CDC funded federal program that serves hundreds of Pasco County clients each year.

The Healthy Start program at DOH-Pasco offers free services to all pregnant women and children ages 0-3 years. The goal of Healthy Start is to educate new moms in everything from preconception and childbirth to parenting skills. Healthy Start also offers emotional support with breastfeeding, family planning, healthy eating and smoking cessation. The program is voluntary; income is not relevant and insurance is not required.

For more information on DOH-Pasco Programs and Services, go to pasco.floridahealth.gov

To explore more health indicators in Pasco County, visit www.FLHealthCHARTS.com.