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A New Look at Oxford County Health Data

The Oxford County Wellness Collaborative (OCWC) has been working on a health data project involving the tracking of Oxford County health priorities, as well as actions being taken to address these priorities. By sharing this Oxford County Health data, we aim to keep our community informed on current Oxford County health priorities and encourage more collaboration, understanding, and partnership moving forward.

Historically, health data at the county level has been disseminated through the County Health Rankings data site or through channels which are not public or are siloed to certain professional fields or public health topics. The County Health Rankings are a useful tool; however, as it is a national data project sourced by a number of federal reports and surveys, such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), it includes delayed data (often a few years old) and doesn’t offer insight into specific county-level health concerns. OCWC hopes to publish data which reflect the unique health concerns in Oxford County, represent current data, are flexible to the changing needs of Oxford County, and incorporate measures tracking community actions in response to identified health concerns.

Health priorities are determined through the bi-annual Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) performed by Maine's CDC and major public health systems. The health measures included in this data set currently describe the 2019 CHNA community identified health priorities of access to care, mental health, social determinants of health, and substance use. There are additional measures describing a Root Cause issue interfering with health and wellness: ‘isolation, disconnection and not feeling valued’. This root cause was identified by people from across Oxford County during a county-wide conversation on health that we convened several years ago. It was the culminating effort of extensive community engagement work done to foster conversations and action around community health improvement.

Data for part one of the project, describing the issue areas, is sourced from a variety of databases including the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS), Kids Count Data, County Health Rankings, Maine Syndromic Surveillance, and other data sources. The data for the second half of the project, tracking actions being taken by the community to address these health priorities, is being sourced from local community program records. We feel that it’s important to reflect not only the health concerns named by local people, but also to share the inspiring and meaningful actions being taken by local people to help address those concerns.

Currently, the first half of the project is published on the OCWC website and the second half is being assembled. We hope folks will utilize this data as a resource toward building collaborative approaches to community health concerns and offer more insight and understanding on health in Oxford County. If you have questions or concerns about any of the health data, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


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