Good news in health care

Published 10:40 pm Monday, May 16, 2011

The past month or so, the news on the health care front in Suffolk hasn’t been great.

First, Suffolk residents learned their community had scored in the bottom half in the state on a health care ranking that includes a number of factors like premature birth, access to healthy foods, prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and more.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago, air quality rankings that gave Suffolk an “F” were released, which means a number of miserable days for people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases.


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However, last week brought some positive news to Suffolk and the rest of Western Tidewater with the convergence of several events in the world of health care in Suffolk.

On Monday, the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community held a luncheon to discuss the progress of the organization with donors, media and community members. The organization is launching a couple of new initiatives to help youth get involved in improving community health and to help citizens improve their health.

The very next day, the Obici Healthcare Foundation announced $1.8 million in grants to nonprofit organizations serving area residents. The projects and programs, which mostly focus on improving access to basic health care, obesity prevention, chronic disease management and insuring more people, will help the community make progress in these four priority areas.

And on Monday and Tuesday, state health commissioner Dr. Karen Remley was in town, visiting the health departments in the Western Tidewater Health District and learning more about the communities they serve and the difficulties they face.

Measured by statistics alone, it’s true that Suffolk is not the best in the state. But the city’s overall health is improving, and the interest showed by organizations and state officials bodes well for the future.