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Population Health Priorities

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common diagnoses in our region, eclipsed only by lung and bronchus cancer, prostate cancer (among men), and breast cancer (among women). More than 100 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed every year in the North Country. Fortunately, 73.9% of adults in our region ages 45-75 have had a colorectal cancer screening within the past 10 years according to the 2023 Community Health Survey. 

FDRHPO and the North Country Initiative (NCI) have developed educational materials and resources promoting colorectal cancer screenings. CLICK HERE for more information. 

Cultural Competency

Cultural competency is a measure of how well healthcare providers and community organizations treat the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of their patients. FDRHPO believes that all patients — regardless of where they were born, how they live, or what language they speak — deserve access to quality healthcare services that respect their way of life. To help further this concept, we work with our healthcare partners to implement cultural competence into their daily operations, using recognized strategies such as Bridges Out of Poverty and others.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR HEALTH LITERACY & CULTURAL COMPETENCY TRAINING VIDEO.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide is among the top 10 causes of death for adults in the United States. Over the past five years, there have been 157 suicide deaths in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties. In 2016, the region’s residents visited emergency departments nearly 500 times because of suicide attempts or suicidal ideation. Suicide has lasting harmful effects on individuals, families and communities. Furthermore, survivors of suicide attempts may experience serious injuries and long-term health issues such as brain damage, organ failure, depression, or other mental health problems. For more information on how you can help prevent suicides in your community, visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org/participate.

Diabetes Prevention & Management

More than 1 in 10 adults living in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties report having diabetes, including 24% of adults over age 65. Those who have diabetes are at an increased risk of other conditions, such as high blood pressure, mental health concerns, obesity, and heart disease. To prevent and decrease rates of diabetes in the North Country, FDRHPO is working with several local partners to increase screening levels and promote evidence-based diabetes prevention and self-management programs.

CLICK HERE for the Chronic Disease Prevention Program Resource Guide

Mental Wellness

The mind is a part of the body. When a person’s mental wellness is strained, this pressure can lead to anger, anxiety, depression, or chronic stress. These symptoms will then begin to impact that person’s physical health, causing side effects such as headaches, bowel problems, life-threatening chronic diseases and even heart attacks or strokes. To see more of FDRHPO’s work in the mental health field, visit our Behavioral Health page.

Health Literacy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines health literacy as “the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” As we work with partners and community members to improve population health, we keep health literacy in mind to ensure all members of our community have access to the information and guidance they need. Since health literacy is closely tied to cultural competency, FDRHPO embeds health literacy and cultural competency into all committee discussions and project planning.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR HEALTH LITERACY & CULTURAL COMPETENCY TRAINING VIDEO.

Maternal & Infant Health

Our region has a markedly higher birth rate than the state, especially in comparison to other rural areas. Military families stationed at Fort Drum account for a large share of these births. Statewide, less than 1% of newborns in hospitals are covered by TRICARE or other Department of Defense payers, but in our tri-county region these payers cover 31.6% of newborns.

 

Access to prenatal care is a need for the region. According to 2016-2022 Vital Statistics Data, 77.4% of mothers were receiving adequate prenatal care within the first trimester of their pregnancy in New York State, however, this percentage is lower in two of our region’s three counties. In St. Lawrence County, the percentage of births with adequate prenatal care has increased over the past few years, from 62.5% in 2015 to 66.9% in 2022, but is still lower than the state and national averages. Jefferson County’s percentage remains relatively constant from 73.8% in 2015 to 73.5% in 2022. Goals in the region include increasing the proportion of children who receive comprehensive well-childcare in accordance with American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines and reducing the prevalence of dental caries among children.

Tobacco Use

Nearly 1 in 4 (24%) of adult residents in the North Country use tobacco, and another 22% are former tobacco users. Rates of current tobacco use rise to 32% among men, 34% among adults age 18-34, 36% among adults in active military households, and 40% among Medicaid households. Tobacco use is a risk factor for lung cancer, COPD, and other chronic diseases, and a leading cause of premature death in the United States.

Oral Health

Oral health is an important part of a person’s overall health and well-being, affecting the ability to speak, eat, and communicate, as well as self-esteem, school or work performance, and social life. Poor oral health can cause immense pain and significant functional problems and necessitate costly treatment. The CDC notes that oral health has been linked with other chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease. Oral health is also linked with risk behaviors like using tobacco and eating and drinking foods and beverages high in sugar.

More than two-thirds of North Country residents have visited a dentist or a dental clinic for a routine cleaning within the past year (68% in the North Country; 70% in Jefferson County; 73% in Lewis County; 64% in St. Lawrence County), while more than 75% of local residents visited a dentist or a dental clinic for a routine cleaning within the past two years. It is recommended that adults receive dental check-ups every six months, or more frequently if suggested by a dentist.

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