By Deb Murphy
Residents of Mono County are in decent shape, according to the just-released County Health Rankings and Roadmap, coming in at 20th out of the 57 California counties ranked by the study.
Mono-ites’ neighbors to the south didn’t fare as well, coming in at 48th.
The annual survey is a collaborative effort between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The intent is to provide a roadmap toward healthier communities for agencies and organizations. According to the survey website, the data collected for the rankings come from a variety of publically available sources, including the Census Bureau, the Center for Disease Control and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Mono scored in the top four for a low premature death rate and physical environment. Air and drinking water issues, housing problems and daily driving patterns went into the physical environment ratings. Mono’s driving patterns were significantly better than the state average.
The county was close to state averages in the health behaviors category, including a number of vices, physical activity, sexually-transmitted diseases (Mono’s numbers were a third of the state averages in that category) and teen births. Mono scored well in social and economic factors where education level, employment, children in poverty or single parent households, crime and injury deaths were the determining factors.
Mono lagged behind other California counties in clinical care with a 2,000 to 1 ratio between residents and primary care physicians. Ironically, the county nearly bottomed out in quality of life factors where number of poor physical and mental health days were the determining factors.
Mono ranked 44th in quality of life, but Inyo’s ranking was even grimmer at 53rd. Inyo scored a sixth place in physical environment, 16th in clinical care with a patient to physician ratio far better than the state average.
Inyo scored low in social and economic factors with violent crime and injury deaths above state averages. While Inyo’s health behaviors were just below the half-way point, alcohol-impaired driving deaths were twice that of Mono and sexually transmitted infections, while below the state average, were also twice that of Mono.
San Mateo, part of the San Francisco Bay area and partial home to Silicon Valley, scored the top spot in the survey while poor, little Modoc in the northeast corner of California came in 57th despite claiming the top spot in the physical environment category. Inyo/Mono’s neighbor, Alpine County, wasn’t ranked at all.