Loading...
BY THE NUMBERS2020-08-08T12:33:18-04:00

Since 2010, when the County Health Rankings were first released, Sullivan County has ranked next to the bottom of the list for Health Outcomes in New York State,

only better than the Bronx. Yet as those of us who live here know, Sullivan County has a lot to offer: beautiful and unspoiled forests, mountains, air and water, gorgeous views, walking trails, and many wonderful and unique attractions and services that draw people from all over.   Fresh foods and organic farms are available throughout the county.  We have talented and passionate residents who love and care about the county and want to help.  Many great initiatives are happening and more are popping up.

We can work to improve these rankings,

and Sullivan 180 was created to facilitate this by helping to leverage change in policies and to support new programs. Sullivan 180 invites the involvement of grassroots activism from the community and partnerships with public health, human service agencies, mental health agencies, local educational institutions, businesses, the arts and others who will all work together to ultimately improve our Health Outcomes. For more information on how to work to improve community health, see the County Health Ranking Action Center webpage: Steps to Move Your Community Forward.

County Health Rankings Model

What are the County Health Rankings?

They are a system of rankings developed by a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)* and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. All counties in the United States since 2010 have received an annual ranking, comparing other counties within each state, but not across states. The rankings were created to measure the progress toward building a Culture of Health in communities all over the US.

How are the rankings determined?

As the diagram to the left illustrates, there are a number of weighted measures that are included in two overall categories: Health Outcomes (how long we live and how healthy we feel) and Health Factors which influence the future health of the county (they include Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors, and Physical Environment). Within these four Health Factor categories there are a number of specific measurable areas identified. The rankings can change from year to year without necessarily reflecting a definite change in health status in any one county for a number of reasons, so it makes more sense to look at trends over time. To understand some of the reasons see Why Ranks Change.

Changes in Policies and Programs (red box on the bottom) impact Health Factors which in turn impact Health Outcomes as demonstrated by the yellow arrows. One example of a policy that has resulted in improved health outcomes has been state policy about seat belt use. Most states now have laws in place requiring seat belt use. According to the US Department of Transportation, seat belts have saved an estimated 255,000 lives since 1975. For more examples of policies and programs that work, visit What Works for Health on the County Health Rankings website.

Why use this non-traditional approach to measuring health?

You may feel that this is an unusual way of looking at health since it incorporates more than the traditional measures of sickness (morbidity) and death (mortality). For example, 40% of the weight of Health Factors are social and economic and include education, employment, income, etc. and 10% of the weighting (Physical Environment) includes “Housing & Transit” as a specific factor.

Why would the creators of the county health ranking system include non-health statistics to determine health rankings, and is this even fair?

The reason for including non-health measures makes sense once you know that many factors have been shown to impact health. For example, there are multiple studies linking a shortened life expectancy to low income, and in communities where there is an unequal distribution of wealth, the life expectancy of those with lower income is even shorter. Click here for more information on health equity and differences in health status according to income and other factors.

Would you like to know more or to get involved?

Sullivan 180 is promoting policies and programs that enhance the quality of life for all residents. With our community partners, we are developing initiatives that increase access to care, and foster ways for all our residents to adopt healthier lifestyles.
We would love to hear from you! Contact us by email at info@sullivan180.org or call us at (845) 295-2680.


*RWJF is the nation’s largest philanthropic organization solely focused on health. RWJF supports research and programs that improve health in our communities.

NY Health Outcomes Map

2020 Sullivan County Ranking = 60

(Best=1, Worst=62)

NY Health Factors Map

2020 Sullivan County Ranking = 51

(Best=1, Worst=62)

Health Disparities

NY State Community Action Association Poverty Report data
Chart by Sullivan 180
To view a larger version of the chart above, please click here.

Children’s health is disproportionately impacted by poverty and children can suffer the impacts of poor health throughout their lives, even when they no longer are children and have a higher income (American Academy of Pediatrics: Poverty and Child Health, March, 2016). The chart below shows that the percentage of children living in poverty in Sullivan County (red line) has steadily increased since 2002 and is far higher than for New York State (green dotted line) and for the United States (blue dotted line) as a whole.

From Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), www.countyhealthrankings.org
To view a larger version of the chart above, please click here.

The connection between health and race are displayed in the chart below. It starkly shows that African-Americans and Latinos in Sullivan County die far earlier than White residents as a rule.

Figures provided by New York State Department of Health
Chart by Sullivan 180
To view a larger version of the chart above, please click here.

As this graphic about equality vs. equity demonstrates, one size does not fit all. Some people and communities may need additional support to be able to fully enjoy access to a healthy lifestyle and good health. Let’s work together to make sure everyone in Sullivan County can enjoy better health.

Why “Equality” Isn’t Good Enough: From RWJF, 2018 “Achieving Health Equity”

Sullivan 180 is committed to supporting interventions like these and others to promote smart and effective change toward better health for the greatest number of county residents in the least amount of time.

Would you like to know more or to get involved?

Sullivan 180 is promoting policies and programs that enhance the quality of life for all residents. With our community partners, we are developing initiatives that increase access to care, and foster ways for all our residents to adopt healthier lifestyles.
We would love to hear from you! Contact us by email at info@sullivan180.org or call us at (845) 295-2680.


*RWJF is the nation’s largest philanthropic organization solely focused on health. RWJF supports research and programs that improve health in our communities.

“Where we live shouldn’t determine how long or how well we live.”

“In our communities, we all should be surrounded by conditions that enable us to live the healthiest life possible, such as access to healthy food, quality schools, stable housing, good jobs with fair pay, and safe places to exercise and play. Unfortunately, in many communities, there are persistent barriers to health and opportunity to thrive. …Factors such as our race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status should not play a role in how healthy we are or how long we live. Unfortunately, for many of us, they do.” (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2018).

In Sullivan County, as in other places, low income usually affects the ability to live in dignified housing, the ability to pay utility and heating bills, to own a reliable car (essential for rural living), to afford enough to eat, to be able to afford medical appointment copays and deductibles, and more. And even with the Affordable Care Act making it possible for low income people to purchase affordable health insurance, dental insurance for adults remains expensive and unaffordable for many.

According to the New York State Community Action Association’s 2018 New York State Poverty Report, Sullivan County‘s poverty rate is 17.5% of all residents combined compared to 15.5% of all New Yorkers living in poverty. But that is only part of the story. As you can see from the chart, Sullivan County African-American residents are more than twice as likely to be poor as White residents, while Latino residents are almost twice as likely.

When people’s lives are impacted by poverty, day to day survival can be a struggle and essentials for good mental and physical health like exercise, leisure and enjoyment can seem like luxuries.

Mental and physical health are adversely impacted by the stress of poverty and by the stress, in some cases, of racism or prejudice in everyday life (for example, not being called in for a job interview because the last name on the application is Latin sounding, being followed by security staff while shopping because of one’s race, or not being hired after a job interview because the person has disclosed he or she is LGBT during the interview).

These charts and tables are shocking and display a disparity in Sullivan County caused largely by poverty, lack of opportunity, structural racism and more. These differences are not unique to Sullivan County, and are, in fact, common throughout the United States.

The GOOD news is that, these disparities do not have to be permanent. Sullivan 180 with our countywide partners are committed to ensuring that everyone, no matter who they are, can enjoy health and happiness at the same level as their fellow county residents.

As the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states in their HI-5 or “Health Impact in 5 Years” Document: Programs that address the conditions in the places where we live, learn, work and play have the greatest potential for keeping people healthy. Below are some recommended and proven non-clinical interventions from that document:

Social Determinants of Health (addresses the conditions in the community)
Early childhood education
Clean diesel bus fleets
Home Improvement loans and grants,
Earned income tax credits, and
Water fluoridation.

Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice (changes the content to make healthy choices easier)
School-based programs to increase physical activity
School-based violence prevention
Safe routes to school
Motorcycle injury prevention
Tobacco control interventions
Access to clean syringes
Pricing strategies for alcohol products
Multi-component worksite obesity prevention

(source: www.cdc.gov/hi5)

MEET OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS

CONTACT US

P.O. Box 311
Liberty, NY 12754

845.295.2680