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Dutchess County Remains in Top 10 of New York Counties in 2016 County Health Rankings

Published: 3/16/2016

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie…Dutchess County ranked No. 10 overall out of the 62 counties in New York State in the 2016 County Health Rankings, released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dutchess County remains one of the healthiest counties in New York State ranking seventh for overall health factors and 10th for overall health outcomes which looks at quality and length of life.

The county’s repeated top-10 ranking is based on a health model which uses national data on more than 30 different available health measures to rank each county in the state.

County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro said, “Today’s data affirms what our county has known, and what the same rankings have proven, for several years: Dutchess continues to place among New York’s healthiest counties. There is, however, more work to do be done. This 2016 ranking will serve as a barometer – a baseline with which we will challenge ourselves and against which future progress will be measured. Dutchess County has already taken strides to reach our goal of becoming the state’s healthiest county, and we will take even more bold steps in the coming year to ensure we reach No. 1.”

During his 2016 State of the County address in January, County Executive Molinaro outlined his goal to make Dutchess the healthiest county in New York within 10 years.

The recent merger of the county’s departments of Health and Mental Hygiene into the Department of Community & Behavioral Health; the move toward a population health model, which focuses on a multitude of factors that influence health outcomes; and focusing on residents’ overall well being – public health, physical health and mental health combined – are just a few steps Dutchess County has already taken start the process of realizing that bold objective.

“The County Health Rankings illustrate Dutchess County remains among New York’s leaders in understanding what makes people sick or healthy, and the county continues to offer available, evidence-based strategies to improve the community’s health,” said Henry M. Kurban, MD, MBA, MPH, FACPM, Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health.  “Dutchess County can be proud of the evolution of its health policies, which continue to set trends for the rest of the state.”

Available online here, the rankings provide a snapshot of a county’s health. The rankings are based on a model of population health that emphasizes the many factors that can help make communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play. They are calculated using a summary of composite scores from individual measures to determine county ranks in health factors including physical environment; social and economic factors; clinical care and health behaviors.  The model also determines an overall rank for health outcomes including quality and length of life.
Overall, Dutchess County saw improvement in many areas of its health profile.  Compared to state and national benchmarks, Dutchess County ranks within the top 90th percentile nationally on many indicators of clinical care, such as insured rates, and on socioeconomic factors, including the childhood poverty rate. Particular strengths in Dutchess County relating to behavioral health – a key determinant of future health outcomes – include reduced levels of smoking, obesity, and teen birth rates.  
County Executive Molinaro and Commissioner Kurban noted the upcoming mid-April release of the Community Health Status Report will include the 2016 County Health Rankings, Community Health Improvement Plan updates, and a detailed profile of the county’s community health highlighting selected health indicators relating to physical and behavioral health.

County Executive Molinaro concluded, “Dutchess County residents’ health means more than simply their physical health; social, environmental, economic, and physical factors all play a part in our overall health status. We are taking active steps throughout the county, and will continue to do so, to improve our health status and eventually become the healthiest county in New York State.”
To find out more about Dutchess County’s Behavioral & Community Health services, visit