Rowan health ranking improves; Cabarrus 7th healthiest

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rowan County residents are working toward becoming a healthier community, according to a report released Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
The annual report aims to help local health populations identify health disparities and work to improve overall health and wellness.
The county’s health status has improved — ranked at 54 in the state out of 100 North Carolina counties, up from last year’s ranking of 62. Meanwhile, Cabarrus County maintained its ranking of 7th healthiest in the state for a second year.
Some of the areas of improvement in Rowan’s health status include lower mortality rates, decreased smoking in adults and lower instances of sexually transmitted diseases.
“The improvement of our county’s health is important to our hospital,” said Dari Caldwell, president of Rowan Regional Medical Center, in a press release sent Tuesday afternoon. “We have worked actively to improve access to care, and in turn, we are seeing more people take preventive steps towards health and wellness.”
Leonard Wood, public health director for the Rowan County Health department, emphasizes the importance of local health officials working together to improve the health of the community.
“The medical community has come together over the past three to five years to address health issues of concern,” Wood said in the press release. “I appreciate the efforts of Rowan Regional Medical Center, Novant Health and the Board of Health for working together to improve the health of the community.”
Though the ranking is an improvement from last year, the press release said, Caldwell and Wood both agree there is much more work to be done.
“Our entire community must address health as one,” Wood said. “From elected officials to business leaders to citizens, we must all work together to set goals which will further improve our overall health and quality of life.”
Read more about the 2012 county health rankings in Thursday’s Post.