The Utah Department of Health released their second ever Violence and Injury Small Area report today. The report summarizes data on 17 different kinds of injuries and injury related topics, like the number of emergency room visits by children or hospitalizations because of poisoning. It then takes that information and breaks it down into 62 small geographic areas. Jenny Johnson is the Injury Prevention Coordinator for the Utah Department of Health. She says the specific and location based information is extremely useful to county health departments.
“Instead of trying to reach everybody and maybe not be as effective they can really work on understanding local needs, local resources, and then work to help them,” she says.
In Utah County the health department used the information from the first small area report to target two communities that had unusually high hospitalization rates from falls. The information helped them get funding to implement a program that has lowered the hospitalization rate on those areas to match the state average.
“You can see that after pinpointing a program to fit a certain community's need that you really can make a difference,” she says.
Johnson says this time around it was differences in the rate of emergency room visits from suicide attempts in the Bear River Health District that stood out to the department. Logan ranks 8th lowest in the state while Brigham City ranks the highest. Officials at the Bear River Health Department are now implementing suicide prevention programs in that area.