New report highlights health disparities in Dan River Region

First-ever Dan River Region health equity report

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE, Va. - The Danville Regional Foundation just released the first-ever health equity report for the Dan River Region.

The 38 page study analyzed each census area in the Dan River Region.

"The main takeaway is that there are these differences throughout our entire region, but that all of us have the ability to impact and improve these same outcomes," said Elyse Jardine, Health Collaborative project manager.

The Health Collaborative was one of five organizations, along with the Danville Regional Foundation, that developed the report.

One of the most significant differences is how long someone in each census area is expected to live without any health complications.

In one census area in a more affluent part of Danville it's 66.6 years.

In a neighboring census area, a poorer part of the city, that number drops to 48.7.

"For me, this report really hit home how much place matters and how much the system and environment in which we live and work and learn really impacts health," said Jardine.

Two years ago, representatives from local community organizations, including the Danville Regional Foundation and the Danville Parks and Recreation Department, visited Louisville, Kentucky to learn how the city is dealing with similar health challenges.

"The overarching theme was the health equity report," said Danville Regional Foundation senior program officer Annie Martinie. "We came back and said 'We really need to have better data.'"

The Dan River Region health equity report provides that data, detailing everything from income levels to the prevalence of diseases to the number of deaths from disease in each census area.

Danville Parks and Recreation Director Bill Sgrinia says that data will come in handy.

"One of the important things that influences the health of an area is access to healthy spaces. We can use this report overlaid with our master plan to determine where the best places for facilities are," Sgrinia explained.

The next report will likely be done in three to five years.

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