Sandoval County is the second-healthiest county in New Mexico, according to a recent study commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The results of the study, which examined counties in all 50 states, were summarized in a report titled County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. The study is conducted annually by the University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute, with funding from the Johnson Foundation.
Thirty two of New Mexico’s 33 counties regularly participate in the study. For 2016, Sandoval County was ranked second in terms of health outcomes, which is a measure of how long a county’s residents typically live and how healthy they feel while alive.
Sandoval County has been ranked second or third on this scale among New Mexico counties every year since 2010. Los Alamos County typically holds the top spot.
“A number of factors contribute to Sandoval County’s consistently high ranking in this study,” said Peggy Cote, director of the Sandoval County Community Services Department, which manages the county’s Community Health Program. “The study shows that Sandoval County residents, on average, are well educated. It also shows that the county is well below the state average in terms of children living in poverty. County residents also have fairly good access to exercise facilities. All of those things contribute to people living longer, healthier lives.”
The two new hospitals—Rust Presbyterian Medical Center and UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center—that have opened in the county since 2011 also are helping residents stay healthy, Cote said.
She also noted that the county’s Community Health Program contributes to the overall health of the population by offering low-income residents access to healthcare. The Community Health Program operates out of the Sandoval County Health Commons in Bernalillo.
The Health Commons offers immunization services and a nutrition program for low-income parents and children. The staff also assists county residents in signing up for insurance through the New Mexico Health Exchange, Medicare or Medicaid strattera dosage. “Over the past three years, we have helped more than 3,500 get insurance through the health exchange or Medicaid,” Cote said. “That leads to better health outcomes.”
For more information about county health rankings, both in New Mexico and across the country, go to: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/.