These questions and difficulties are some of the main issues The St. Louis Regional Health Commission and their partners are continually addressing. The St. Louis Regional Health Commission (RHC) is a network of individuals with responsibility and commitment to improving health in the St. Louis region. The Commission itself is a 19-member body with two Advisory Boards, each encompassing 30 individuals. A variety of community, hospital, government, university-based groups, and organizations are represented. Based on the initial report in 2003, Building a Healthier St. Louis, the RHC is providing a platform to guide future RHC and community-based funding with the goal of increasing health care access, reducing health disparities and improving the health outcomes for the uninsured and underinsured.
These initiatives are paying off in the many success stories we find in the recent publication of the RHC's follow-up report Decade Review of Health Status 2000 - 2010: a study Co-Chaired by Dr. Dolores Gunn, Director of the St. Louis County Department of Health, and Pamela Walker, Interim Director of the City of St. Louis Department of Health.
For example, between 2000 and 2010, heart disease in St. Louis City and County fell 29% and stroke deaths fell 30% in the region.
You may be asking, "What does this report have to do with me?" The answer is: Everything!
The RHC is not just centered on data collection but on utilizing available data to improve the lives of St. Louis City and County residents. Increasing access to care for primary and specialty services, specifically through St. Louis' healthcare safety net –a system of community-based providers who offer health services to low-income people, including the uninsured—is one such major effort. You can download the RHC's Access to Care Data Book for more information on many of the health care organizations that serve the underinsured and uninsured in the St. Louis community. The RHC website offers further resources and helpful links to organizations with health based information.
Access to quality, regular medical care is strongly associated with improving ones health, and it is important to know what you can do to ensure a healthy life for yourself and your loved ones. In the coming weeks, we will be featuring topics from the Decade Review of Health Status report, such as asthma, childhood and maternal health, heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Success stories, healthy steps you can take, and links to relevant partners will give you the knowledge you need to lead a healthier life.
Let's continue to move forward together and grow an even healthier St. Louis community.
Department of Health
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