Public health declines in Delaware County
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - Public health is on the decline in Delaware County because of poverty, obesity and sexually transmitted disease, according to a health survey conducted by the University of Wisconsin.
And Indiana also ranks at the bottom of federal funding for public health which paints a grim picture of higher mortality in Middletown.
Josh Williams, county health administrator, offered a glimpse of public health from countyhealthrankings.org on Monday to the Delaware County Commissioners and other county officials.
Williams prefaced the report, saying it had no scientific basis and the findings could not be used to develop policy and programs. It is more of that online information that can be used as talking points by media and public officials.
The most starling data was that 28 percent of all children live in poverty locally, while another 17 percent of the population is uninsured. That compares to 11 percent on both counts nationwide.
Sexually transmitted disease is about six times the national count and twice the state ranking while the mortality rate is higher than both state and national comparisons.
Williams explained local health care systems were in place to deal with those who are in need and in poor health.
Open Door Community Services just opened a new clinic and expanded its services to dealt with the thousands of people in poverty who need health care. And Meridian Services recently adopted a new approach to patient care considering physical, mental and social treatment. It also has expanded its services throughout eastern Indiana.
The lack of funding has not stopped the local county board of health from finding more ways to improve health care. Williams is working with Ball State University to have an epidemiologist study health patterns and come up evidence that can be used to develop policies and programs.