5 Actions You Can Take to Support Health in Your Community

Where you live has a significant impact on your health and quality of life. The 2022 County Health Rankings were released yesterday, April 27, 2022, after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. This annual report examines key factors that influence health, and it helps to shine a light on the importance of health equity within communities. In addition, the report highlights where actions can be taken in order to improve the health of community members and helps to identify any potential barriers.

The County Health Rankings are based on a community health model that emphasizes that multiple factors influence both how long and how well a person will live. There are 30 measures that are included in this model. You will find information on health outcomes, health factors, as well as information on policies and programs. Health outcomes are measured by both length and quality of life. Health factors are measured by health behaviors (tobacco use, alcohol use, drug use, diet, exercise, and sexual activity), clinical factors (access to care and quality of care), social and economic factors (education, employment, income, family support, social support, and community safety), and the physical environment (air quality, water quality, housing and transit).

The Nevada report highlights where counties rank based on health outcomes and health factors. The lighter the intensity of green on the map indicates healthier counties. As you’ll note below Douglas, Washoe, Storey, and Pershing are ranked as the top four.

The below graph outlines the 17 counties in Nevada. The population is listed, and each county is  hyperlinked to the county data within the report for your convenience. Counties are ordered below with 1 having the highest health factor score and 16 being the lowest. Esmeralda county had no data, so it is not ranked.

2022 Nevada Health Outcome Ranks and Scores

17 counties in Nevada

County Population Health Outcome Ranking (length and quality of life) Health Factors Ranking (health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment)
Clark 2,228,866 6 14
Washoe 464,182 2 4
Lyon 55,667 10 12
Carson City 55,244 11 5
Elko 52,537 5 9
Douglas 48,486 1 2
Nye 45,514 14 16
Churchill 24,606 13 8
Humboldt 16,834 12 11
White Pine 9,570 8 6
Pershing 6,591 4 13
Lander 5,565 15 10
Lincoln 5,177 7 7
Mineral 4,487 16 15
Storey 4,086 3 1
Eureka 1,839 9 3
Esmerelda 1,030 No data No data

In order to make meaningful use out of the data, the County Health Rankings & Roadmap provides information with what to do with this data. To make change, it’s important to take action. They have outlined 5 steps for taking action in order to improve health within your community. In addition to the 5 steps, collaboration and communication are critical components. The old saying, “It takes a village” continues to be true. Without collaboration from the community (i.e., engaging all different sectors from the community – public health, health care, business, policymakers, and local residents) meaningful change isn’t possible. It’s important to have diverse stakeholders, take time to develop meaningful relationships, and reinforce healthy partnerships when taking action. In addition, it takes effective communication throughout the journey in order to create a healthy and equitable community.

5 Actions Steps for Creating A Healthy Community

  1. Assess Needs & Resources
    • Begin by reviewing the relevant statistics specific to your community. What stands out to you? What challenges does the community face? What strengths, assets, and resources does your community have? What is needed? Utilize the action learning goals to help provide guidance, tools, and education for the people within your community.
  2. Focus on What’s Important
    • Which problems are most important to focus on at this time? Brainstorm possible priorities and set priorities as a community. Analyze the root cause of different problems that are present with the community. Once priorities are selected, set measurable goals.
  3. Choose Effective Policies & Programs
    • Selecting evidence-based policies and programs helps to maximize chances of success. You can find a wealth of information for what works when it comes to promoting health here. You’ll find evidence-based strategies for promoting healthy behaviors (alcohol use, drug use, diet, exercise, sexual activity, and tobacco use), best practices for clinical care (access to care and quality of care), best practices for social and economic factors (community safety, education, employment, family support, social support, and income), and lastly information about the physical environment (air quality, water quality, and housing transportation).
  4. Act on What’s Important
    • Every community is different, so it takes collaboration and ingenuity to build on community strengths, leverage resources, and identify the unique needs of the community. It’s important to develop a plan when choosing what is important to take action on, along with identifying champions and challengers, key decision makers, and organizing and mobilizing the community. Developing the plan also includes developing a message that helps the community to rally behind the plan – which means utilizing the language of the community and getting buy-in from the community.
  5. Evaluate Actions
    • Anytime change is being made, it’s important to evaluate how the change is going along the journey. What is going well, what isn’t going well, and pivoting along the way. Within this step developing an evaluation plan, collecting data, identifying benchmarks, and reviewing results are all key components.

Community Health Rankings can be a valuable tool for communities. We can utilize this information to help raise awareness about key issues in the community, celebrate what is going well, and then build support for relevant and meaningful health improvement initiatives within the community.

Your Turn: What stands out most to you about your county? How will you utilize this data?

Additional resources may be found on the CASAT OnDemand Resources & Downloads page.

This article was developed by Heather Haslem, M.S. Feel free to use, link to, or distribute this information. A link to our site and attribution would be much appreciated.


Cudit. (n.d.). Mind-boggled by Nevada Demographics? Nevada Outline. Retrieved April 28, 2022, from https://www.nevada-demographics.com/

University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute & The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation . (2022, April 27). How healthy is your county? County Health Rankings. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://www.countyhealthrankings.org/

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