Medicine & Disease
County Health Rankings 2010-2012
Each year, health rankings for every county in the United States are published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute. These rankings are based on such criteria as rate of premature death, percent affected with mental health problems and a varitey of other conditions. There are also social and economic factors that contribute to the county's health ranking. Each factor is compared to the state and national averages and includes data such as obesity, alcoholism, smoking, living conditions, insurance status, and other contributing problems. The interactive graph created by Sean Seefeldt shows how the seven counties represented on this site rank in accordance to all of these factors. As shown through the three year progression some counties have improved their rankings, while others have regressed.
Monthly Health and Disease Summary
The South Dakota Department of Health issues a monthly report on diseases ranging from incidents of salmonella and E.coli to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like gonorrhea. The report also tracks new incidents of rabies and West Nile as well as tuberculosis. Graphs break the state into eight regions organized by zip code groups, including one group for "577" zip code areas that includes most of the Black Hills region. Highlights from the May 2012 include:
- Although we are unable to predict WNV’s activity during the next decade, it is prudent to expect it to persist as a public health threat to South Dakota into the foreseeable future.
Focus Area: Mental Health
Substance abuse, stress, anxiety, depression and suicide were all top 10 issues that emerged from a Black Hills Community Needs Assessment completed in January, 2007.
As a result, the John T. Vucurevich Foundation convened 36 different agencies to meet and develop a collaborative systematic plan to address the region’s mental health needs. The collaboration led to the creation of a 24-Hour Crisis Care Center in Rapid City that began taking patients on January 31, 2011. For more on the goals and programs of the collaborative, read the Vucurevich Foundation’s February 2011 “Report to the Community.” Partial funding for the center was provided by Rapid City’s Vision 2012 program. The collaborative’s application for funding is here.
To help residents find what resources are available and appropriate, A Guide to Mental Health in the Black Hills was created. This page lists some of mental health resources in the region as well as links for finding more.
Focus Area: Concussions
New research suggests that concussions sustained in sports or accidents can have long-term effects. The Rapid City Concussion Project has aggregated news and information on this important topic for atheletes and parents. Inside Dakota Sports has also produced a series of articles on the subject. They also have information on a new law passed by the South Dakota Legislature to address the issue.
Focus Area: Life Expectancy
Life expectancies vary across western South Dakota and range from among the shortest in the United States in the southern counties of the Black Hills to the longest in the nation in the Central Hills. The Washington Post published an interactive map on June 15 that color codes for life expectancy in every county in the United States.
Focus Area: Infant Mortality
The Black Hills have seen a recent rise in infant mortality. Only Custer and Lawrence have infant mortality rates below the national average (at 6.3 and 6.5). Pennington's 7.5 and Butte's 7.7 place them slightly above the state average. Fall River and Meade are much higher at 8.9 and 9.6, and Shannon County has the fourth highest in the state with 14.3. For more information about infant mortality click here.
Focus Area: Vaccination
South Dakota Health Officials pride themselves on producing some of the highest vaccination rates in the country. Rapid City ranks 22nd overall in the nation for percentage of adults aged 65 and older who have recieved influenza vaccinations. For more information on vaccination rates in South Dakota click here.
Focus Area: Extreme Heat Conditions
Extreme heat can cause a variety of medically dangerous conditions for adults and children. Information from the Centers for Disease Control is available to help deal with heat related conditions as well as prevention of those conditions.
Focus Area: Obesity
Obesity is on the rise in South Dakota. According to a recent study, the rate of increase in adult obesity in the state was the third fastest among all the states in the nation. The prevalence of obesity among children under the age of five is also higher than the national average. See "Obesity in South Dakota: An Expanding Epidemic." See also Obesity, Tobacco, and Cancer in South Dakota for the Department of Health's 2020 goal for obesity along with more information and resources. For more information about Obesity in South Dakota click here to see data presented by the South Dakota Department of Health
Focus Area: HIV/AIDS
Approximately 197 cases of HIV/AIDS were reported in Black Hills counties between 1985 and 2010, accounting for three out of every ten cases in South Dakota. At the end of 2010, 644 South Dakota residents were reported to be infected with HIV. Three out of every four individuals with HIV were male. While 63 percent of those diagnosed with HIV or AIDS between 1985 and 2010 were white, one in six was American Indian. Two out of three people diagnosed were between the ages of 25 and 44 years old. For more information, see the South Dakota Department of Health's annual Surveillance Report on HIV/AIDS issued in January, 2011.
Focus Area: Breast Cancer
Between 2002 and 2006, an average of 531 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed per year among women in South Dakota. According to a report from the South Dakota Cancer Registry, approximately 100 South Dakota women will die from breast cancer. According to a recent article in the Rapid City Journal, women living in western South Dakota tend to choose a mastectomy over a lumpectomy more often than women living closer to hospitals in the Sioux Falls area.
Focus Area: Cancer
County-by-county information on the incidence of various types of cancer is available from the National Cancer Institute. An interactive map allows the user to see rates for various types of cancer by race, age and gender.
The South Dakota Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan for 2011 - 2015 is a five year plan developed by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). It focuses on creating better treatment options for cancer patients as well as investigating new early detection strategies.
Colorectal screening is an emphasis for the Department of Health as early detection often means it can be cured. Read more on the DOH's 2020 goal for colorectal screening at Obesity, Tobacco, and Cancer in South Dakota.
For more information on Cancer in South Dakota provided by the South Dakota Department of Health click here.
Focus Area: Smoking
The Center For Disease Control links tobacco to more than 1,000 deaths in South Dakota each year. Reducing tobacco use should bring about a reduction in these deaths and lower health costs. Currently, 17.3 percent of South Dakota adults smoke cigarettes regularly (down from a peak in 1998 of 27 percent). The Department of Health's goal is to bring this down to 15 percent by 2020. As Shown below Rapid City has one of the higher smoking rates int he region and is above both the state and national averages. For more information on smoking rates click here.
Focus Area: Food & Wellness
The Food Environment Atlas, developed by the Economic Research Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in cooperation with various federal agencies, provides an interactive map that provides county-level data on access to and patterns of consumption of food. This is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the relationship between the food environment and health in the Black Hills. For more information on nutrition in South Dakota click here.
Focus Area: Physical Activity
Physical activity contributes to improved health in many ways. The U.S. Center for Disease Control provides an interactive map that highlights data on obesity, diabetes and physical inactivity for Black Hills counties and the rest of the United States. For more information about exercise in South Dakota click here for data presented by the South Dakota Department of Health.
2011-2012 Flu Season: The Centers for Disease control has released information about the 2011-2012 flu season including vaccine information.
South Dakota Department of Health 2020: A comprehensive plan to promote the well-being of South Dakota citizens
MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health's web site and is produced by the National Library of Medicine. The site offers reliable up-to-date information about medical and wellness issues in easy to understand language. The site also offers information about drugs and supplements, explanations of medical terms , information about clinical trials, medical videos and much more.
Native American Health is part of the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine. Included in the site is information about health conditions, programs and services, research and statistics and traditional healing information. Tribal information is also included in the site.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) serves as the nations medical research agency and is part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is comprised of twenty-seven separate institutes and centers that focus on particular body systems, diseases and population groups including the National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Drug Abuse and more.
Mayo Clinic Health Informaton: Comprehensive guide on diseases and conditions from the Mayo Clinic.
Health Connect of South Dakota is an independent source of free health information for individuals, families and communities. Health Connect is staffed by healthcare professionals and trained volunteers. The resources offered are a variety of specific medical information, referrals to other organizations , referrals to medical library resources and multimedia sources (websites). Support group information and national agencies would also be provided. Health Connect does not seek to duplicate services currently being provided in the area, but rather act as a clearinghouse for individuals, families and communities seeking ONE source for all relevant information.
TOXNET is an integrated database system of hazardous chemicals, toxic releases and environmental health. This resource is from the Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program. Information about possible health effects of common household items, occupations with toxic risk and much more is available at the site.