Lorain County Identifies Health Priorities, Initiatives Through 2022
Lorain County has released its Community Health Improvement Plan, which outlines health issues it will focus on over the next three years.
The top priorities include chronic disease, maternal and child health, mental health, substance abuse and cancer.
Lorain County Public Health Commissioner Dave Covell said the county will have a strong focus on children's health, especially kids age one to five.
In a previous plan, health officials identified infant mortality as a priority for the county. The difference between white and African American infant mortality rates was “dramatic,” Covell said.
The infant mortality rate for African American babies has decreased over 50% since 2014, he said, but there’s still room to improve.
Now, in addition to continuing their work to lower the infant mortality rate, the county is concentrating on toddlers and preschool-age kids. Covell said this is a unique approach compared to other counties across the state.
“A lot of folks are still looking at infant mortality, because they’re still struggling with this,” he said. “For us to make the change to childhood health, is a little different from what others are doing.”
One way they plan to focus on childhood health is by improving kindergarten readiness.
“How do we help (kids) get all the way to kindergarten so they’re more prepared for school, they’re more healthy, they’re more ready to go?” he said. “Because we all know that if they do better in school, they’ll actually have a better health outcome down the road.”
Covell said in addition to health officials, educators will give input on programs and services to help meet this goal.