(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recently released a new report on the status of health disparities in Utah’s legislative districts. This report is the first of its kind in Utah and uniquely demonstrates that not all districts experience health in the same way.
According to the UDOH Office of Health Disparities, health disparities are more than poor health outcomes. A disparity implies that the poor health outcome is avoidable, unfair, and unjust and closely linked to economic, socio-cultural, environmental, and geographic disadvantage.
The report is intended to provide detailed health data by individual district that can empower elected officials to make informed decisions to foster and improve the health status of individuals in their districts, with a particular focus on tailoring efforts for vulnerable and underserved communities.
The report shows 75% of Senate districts and 60% of House districts are experiencing some type of health disparities. When adverse health outcomes are combined with health disparities, the number of impacted Senate and House districts increases to 90%.
“We hope the report brings attention to health disparities in a unique, innovative, and practical way,” said Brittney Okada, with the UDOH Office of Health Disparities. “That way, many different agencies and partners can come together with shared understanding to engage in impactful, collaborative efforts. In order for Utah to become the ‘healthiest state in the nation,’ health disparities must be addressed.”
The report contains links to individual profiles for each of Utah’s 29 Senate districts and 75 House districts.
Each district profile includes information on the Utah small areas within that district. “Utah small areas” refers to a set of geographic areas in Utah with population sizes ranging from approximately 8,000 to 86,000 people.
Also included is the Utah Health Improvement Index (HII) group. Developed by the UDOH, the Utah HII is a measure of health equity. It includes nine indicators that describe important determinants of health such as demographics, socioeconomic deprivation, economic inequality, resource availability, and opportunity structure. The Utah HII ranges from 71.89 to 160.87. Based on their score, the 99 Utah Small Areas are categorized into five groups: very low, low, average, high, and very high.
Finally, the profiles include health indicators that align with the Utah Health Improvement Plan to provide an overall picture of health in the communities. While not all-inclusive, the indicators provide key information about the general health status, health care coverage, chronic disease, and mental health of the district.
Woven together, this information provides a picture of the status of health disparities in each legislative district.
The Health Disparities by Utah State Legislative District Report can be found at http://health.utah.gov/disparities/data/ohd/HealthDisparitiesbyUtahStateLegislativeDistrict2019.pdf
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Office of Health Disparities