Health

Community Outcome Area: Health

Fairfax County is a place where all people can attain their highest level of health and well-being.

 

 

 

Fairfax County is committed to providing equitable access to affordable healthcare and healthy living opportunities, allowing all residents to attain their full health potential. Health and well-being are influenced by a wide range of social and economic factors, health behaviors, access to services and environmental quality. For some people, the essential elements for a healthy life are readily available; for others, the opportunities for healthy choices are significantly limited.

It is important to recognize that disparities exist, and have been highlighted and exacerbated by the recent pandemic,  especially for people of color who are at a higher risk of COVID-19 due to a multitude of related issues. These include a greater likelihood of underlying health conditions that make some residents more prone to contracting the virus, higher rates of employment in public-facing service jobs, and residing in high-density, multifamily living units which contribute to the spread of communicable diseases.

The strategies in this section seek to advance equitable health outcomes by examining what specific changes in the social determinants of health, the built community, and healthy living resources can be made to improve health and wellness for all, especially those who are most vulnerable and have been disproportionately affected, including older adults and children.

Note: The Environment community outcome area was originally combined with Health, but these two areas  were separated to ensure adequate focus on each. Therefore, one of the first steps of the implementation process will be to crosswalk the following proposed strategies with countywide plans that are focused on community health, and to make necessary adjustments to ensure total integration and alignment of related work. 

Challenge Questions

  1. How will we proactively create the community conditions that ensure equitable opportunities for all to attain their highest level of health and well-being?
  2. How will we remove barriers and ensure equitable access to and utilization of needed health resources and services (physical, oral, mental, developmental and substance use) across our community?
  3. How will we promote behaviors that contribute to positive health outcomes and make healthy options more readily available, especially in communities facing the greatest health inequities?

Indicators

  • Access to Health Services
  • Improving Physical and Behavioral Health Conditions
  • Promoting Health-Related Behaviors

Proposed Strategies

These proposed strategies were developed based on the extensive background work completed by the Countywide Strategic Planning Teams.  As previously noted, these strategies will be aligned with related work under the Environmental Committee. 

Support Healthy Communities

  • H 1. Integrate considerations of health, well-being and equity into the development, implementation and evaluation of land use, transportation and housing policies and ordinances.
  • H 2. Create walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented, dense, mixed-use and connected places that make inviting and vibrant communities with opportunities for recreation and active living for individuals of all ages and abilities.
  • H 3. Create healthier environments on county properties through health-promoting policies and encouraging the use of county properties for active recreational use.
  • H 4. Promote healthy eating by implementing policies and initiatives that increase access to fresh, affordable and nutritious food options, especially in the geographic areas of the county with the highest rates of food insecurity.
  • H 5. Use enhanced data analysis and population-level data from COVID-19 to better quantify and monitor differences in health outcomes among groups of people to inform work to close the gap on health inequities.
  • H 6. Foster individual and family resiliency to withstand, adapt to and recover from chronic stress and adverse experiences through early intervention, prevention and trauma-informed care.

Expand Access to Health Services and Information

  • H 7. Identify barriers to accessing health services for residents in need and align county and community resources to address the underlying factors contributing to underutilization, and to eliminate gaps in services.
  • H 8. Integrate the delivery of health services (physical, mental, oral and substance use) for those in need through co-locating services and redesigning care providers’ practices and business processes.
  • H 9. Attract health service providers to underserved geographic areas by incentivizing the provision of care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate, accessible, high quality and affordable.
  • H 10. Address substance use through coordinated education efforts for prevention, expanded treatment options and harm reduction actions in collaboration with community partners.
  • H 11. Implement a comprehensive, coordinated, evidence-based healthy living campaign that is tailored to reach, inform, educate, and motivate people to increase health-promoting behavior across all communities.
  • H 12. Expand our capacity to effectively reach and engage residents in the design and implementation of health promotion initiatives through strategic partnerships and collaborations.
  • H 13. Explore innovative financing mechanisms to bolster the flexibility, scalability and sustainability of community health and wellness initiatives.

Sample Metrics

Indicator: Access to Health Services
Metrics:

  • # of health service providers per 10,000 residents
  • % of residents who have seen a primary care provider within the last 12 months
  • Rate of preventable hospital stays
  • % of residents experiencing food insecurity
  • % of households living in neighborhoods with walkability and bikeability scores above 50 out of 100

Indicator: Improving Physical and Behavioral Health Conditions
Metrics:

  • % of residents who are overweight or obese
  • Hospitalization rate due to asthma
  • % of residents who report having a chronic physical or behavioral health condition
  • % of residents reporting depressive symptoms
  • % of residents who have seriously considered or attempted suicide
  • # of emergency department visits for opioid-related overdose
  • Variance in rates of premature deaths in different populations

Indicator: Promoting Health-Related Behaviors
Metrics:

  • % of residents engaging in physical activity
  • % of residents eating fruits and vegetables
  • % of residents who use tobacco products
  • % of residents who use alcohol or drugs
Fairfax Virtual Assistant