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Department of Health Services

For Immediate Release

Department of Health Services Releases First Ever Summary Measures of Health Report

Santa Rosa,CA | February 05, 2018

The Sonoma County Department Health Services (DHS) has released the first in a series of surveillance reports, describing life expectancy and the leading causes of death and premature death across Sonoma County communities. Using data commonly utilized in state and national public health surveillance, the Sonoma County Summary Measures of Health (PDF: 17.3 Mb) report examines nine distinct geographic regions within Sonoma County, and identifies disparities in life expectancy and premature death rates. This report's examination of disease patterns is a more in-depth look at the Health area of A Portrait of Sonoma County, a 2014 report that explored differences in health, education, and income in the county.

The Sonoma County Summary Measures of Health (PDF: 17.3 Mb) report comes on the heels of a similar report released in December by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) that describes two successive years of decreasing life expectancy in the United States, the first time this has happened in over 50 years. The Sonoma County report highlights important local successes, such as declining death and premature death rates due to cancer, heart disease, and stroke, some of the county and California's leading causes of death. The report also highlights public health challenges, such as regional disparities in death and premature death rates. At the extremes, there is nearly a 7-year difference in regional life expectancy, with the Healdsburg area community living longer (85 years) than the Russian River area community (78 years).

"Everyone's experiences have ripple effects within our community, and we can build creative systems that remove the barriers for Sonoma County residents to be healthy and thrive," stated Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair James Gore. Chair Gore represents District 4 on the Board of Supervisors.

Sonoma County Summary Measures of Health (PDF: 17.3 Mb) will inform the work of DHS and is intended to assist health partners, stakeholders, and communities in identifying, prioritizing, and pursuing innovative solutions to improve community health and reduce disparities. DHS is disseminating findings in this report to communities, community-based organizations, local health care providers, health systems, and policy makers to inform, educate, and empower all of us to better understand and address today's community health challenges, as well as prevent future public health problems.

While the report's data represent current health outcomes, future health outcomes, just as today's health outcomes, will largely be determined by the underlying risk and protective factors. The community conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age have a strong influence on health outcomes. Understanding the leading causes of premature death (cancer, unintentional injuries, heart disease, suicide, and chronic liver disease) and how they affect our communities, is a first step towards addressing the factors that contribute to poor community health outcomes.

DHS Director Barbie Robinson said, "The Department of Health Services has prioritized data collection and analysis to enable us to make smarter decisions to support the well-being of our 500,000 residents. This report provides us with a portrait that can begin to immediately inform County decision-making."

Download the full report (PDF: 17.3 Mb)