The health of a community is determined by a number of health factors including the quality of health care, health behaviors, socioeconomic factors and the physical environment. It is these factors that the Wisconsin County Health Rankings, a signature product of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, uses to rank Wisconsin communities.
The Rankings look at population health in the form of health factors and health outcomes. In contrasting measures of population health and its determinants, the Rankings stimulate and engage discussion with Wisconsin's health policy and public health communities.
The Rankings are a call to action for leaders in health care, business, education, government, media and other sectors to take a comprehensive approach to improving the health of their communities.
“The County Health Rankings are my best marketing tool,” said Barb Theis, Juneau County Health officer.“ (The report) rallies the community. The health rankings showed community members how they fit into the health issue.”
The first edition of the Rankings, described as a Report Card, was released in 2003 as an Institute Working Paper. Since 2003, the Wisconsin County Health Rankings have been published annually. UWPHI is continually developing methods for population health reporting and ranking in addition to the Rankings. The Rankings are now done nationally, ranking counties within states. The current Rankings can be found at countyhealthrankings.org while previous years of Wisconsin rankings are found on the right of this page.
For a commentary on the Wisconsin County Health Rankings, see "Healthcare Reform Without Communitywide Prevention Misses The Target" by Tim Size, Executive Director, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, published in the RWHC Quarterly Editorial for Member Newsletters: September, 2007.