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State of the County Health Report Now Available

Health trends & priorities among Durham County

Post Date:05/24/2017 4:44 PM

DURHAM, N.C. – The Partnership for a Healthy Durham has released the annual State of the County Health (SOTCH) Report, detailing updated statistics since the 2014 Community Health Assessment.  Current health priorities include:  access to healthcare, education, HIV and STIs, mental health and substance use, obesity and chronic illness, and poverty.

“The SOTCH Report provides the opportunity to update the community on the status of health issues identified in the Community Health Assessment.  Teams continue to implement action plans created to improve health outcomes.  They have been creating more Healthy Mile Trails, assessing health equity from a historical point of view, and establishing avenues for healthy food access.  We are motivated by increased community wide interest in making Durham one of the healthiest communities in North Carolina,” said Gayle Harris, director, Durham County Department of Public Health (DCoDPH).  “However, we realize we still have more work to do.”

Key findings:

  • The average life expectancy in Durham County is 79.8, with females averaging 82.3 years and male 77.1 years.  Whites and Blacks are expected 82.0 and 76.7 years, respectively.
  • The $25,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize mini-grants have helped our partners to provide free durable medical equipment for loan to uninsured and underinsured Durham County residents, afforded bicycles and pedestrian safety equipment to fourth grade students, and provided approximately 1,429lbs of meats, dairy, and produce to Senior Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries from July 2015 to June 2016.
  • Naloxone, a life-saving drug that reverses opioid overdoses, was administered during 232 opioid-related encounters by EMS in 2016.
  • Cancer has been identified as the leading cause of death from 2011-2015, with 167.0 per 100,000 population.
  • While graduation rates in Durham County continue to improve, rising from 63% in 2008 to 82.3% in 2016, nearly one in five students entering high school does not graduate.
  • Since 2012, the syphilis rate in Durham County has increased by five times from 8.5 to 44.5 cases per 100,000 population.  In 2015, Durham County had the highest syphilis rate in the state.  Blacks and African-American males had the highest rates of HIV and early syphilis in 2015.
  • Approximately 150 Durham County government officials and community stakeholders have attended DCoDPH-sponsored racial equity trainings to perform an introductory analysis of racism and examine current practices to work towards creating equitable systems.
  • In October 2016, Durham County passed a policy providing 12 weeks of paid parental leave after the birth, adoption, or placement of an employee’s child.  Minimum wage for County employees was also raised to $15.00 per hour beginning January 2, 2017.

For the full SOTCH report, visit  For more information about the Partnership for a Healthy Durham or initiatives developed to improve Durham’s health, contact Marissa Mortiboy at 919-560-7833 or


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