JUST RELEASED: 2017 Health Equity Report

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November 30, 2017

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Dr. Brandy Kelly Pryor discusses key findings in new report

2017 Health Equity Report Released 

This morning the Louisville Metro Center for Health Equity (CHE) released our 2017 Health Equity Report with the Fairdale Library as the backdrop. Dr. Brandy Kelly Pryor, director of the Center for Health Equity was joined by Mayor Greg Fischer and Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Department of Public Health & Wellness, to discuss the report's key findings, recommendations, and highlight evidence-based best practices to help advance equity across Louisville. 

The top three causes of death in Louisville for the past five years are cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to the latest health equity report. 

Although cancer is the number one cause of death in Louisville,  the report also shows there are differences in cancer death rates based on where you live, your gender, and your race. However, because cancer is not the leading cause of death in the United States, there are positive changes that can be made to benefit all Louisville residents by intervening in the root causes of cancer, such as food systems and environmental quality.

Mayor Greg Fischer today praised the Center for Health Equity for  the Louisville Metro Health Equity Report 2017, which builds on reports released in 2011 and in 2014 by including root causes for inequitable health outcomes in our community, as well as potential solutions for those challenges. 

“We want to make Louisville a healthier city overall, and in order to do that, we have to make it a more equitable city,” the Mayor said. “These reports have shown us that factors such as your income, your ZIP Code, your race and your education level profoundly influence how healthy you will be. We need to fully understand these factors to create data-driven approaches for addressing the obstacles that stand in the way of improving health.”

The report, designed as a tool for policy makers and residents to better understand how they can create more equitable policies and practices, examines the history of Louisville and how our past has influenced our present. 

It shows the demographics and diversity of the city’s residents, noting, for example that Louisville’s population is growing and becoming more diverse. It reviews 21 health outcomes such as infant mortality, homicide and heart disease, and examines 11 root causes for those outcomes, ranging from food systems to neighborhood development. These health outcomes are arranged in the order of the life course, from infancy through old age, to demonstrate how root causes have different impacts at every life stage and can have cumulative effects over time.

“Health equity is everybody’s work. We want policy makers, businesses leaders, government officials, physicians, schools, civic and nonprofit organizations and residents to use the report to create equitable policies and practices so that everyone can thrive for our entire city can become healthier,” said Brandy N. Kelly Pryor, PhD., director of the Center for Health Equity.  

The report lists evidence-based best practices to improve health that are already under way in Louisville, as well as recommendations proven to have a positive impact in other communities. Examples of best practices include raising the tobacco tax to reduce consumption, promoting zoning policies that encourage mixed-use development and create places that encourage physical activity, as well as policies that help families build wealth, like childcare subsidies and earned-income tax credits.

A few of the findings in Louisville Metro Health Equity Report 2017 include:

  • We can improve quality of life and reduce deaths from the leading causes, such as cancer, heart disease, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), if we focus on root causes of health.
  • Different groups are affected by different health outcomes. For example, white males had the highest rate of death from suicide, at 29.14 per 100,000, while black males had the highest rate of death from homicide, at 49.12 per 100,000.
  • Louisville’s population is growing and becoming more diverse. The Hispanic/Latino population has tripled since 2000, and the Asian population has more than doubled.

To view Louisville Metro Health Equity Report 2017, or presentation and further data requests, go to www.HealthEquityReport.com.

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2017 Health Equity Report: Uncovering the Root Causes of Our Health 

We are excited about the release of the 2017 Health Equity Report, and are eager to work with you to advance equity in Louisville. We want to hear how you are using the report, your data questions, and we are ready to come share with you about the report. If you have questions or a presentation requests, please reach us healthequity@louisvilleky.gov. You can also join the conversation online using #HER2017 and #LouEquity!