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Marion County’s health department tackles low ranking

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Marion County’s health department has begun to take charge of a low-ranking quality of health in the area.

With the county ranking in the bottom 25 percent based on factors such as chronic illness and death, according to a news release, a new awareness program is necessary, said Marion County’s Health Department spokesman Craig Ackerman.

Marion County partners are developing the Community Health Improvement Plan, also known as CHIP, which will raise health care awareness throughout the county.

This is not just another health care project, Ackerman insisted.

“The first thing we are planning to do is to bring together a group of people from a cross section of the community from education, law enforcement, parks, businesses and obviously the health delivery community … and come to a consensus on some of the things we can do first to move toward a more healthy community,” Ackerman said.

He explained how the quality of the health care in the area is not the issue, but other factors are to blame.

“These are things like income, education, employment, housing, access to parks, access to healthy food, which lead to a healthy community, and healthy people,” Ackerman said.

The program is continuing to grow in the Marion County community every day, working to raise awareness of the health conditions of the county, which is the program’s No. 1 goal.

“We’re not asking for funding, we’re asking for the community to begin to get together and talk about how we can be a more healthy community,” Ackerman said.

Sarah Kinonen wrote and edited this story online.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a news editor at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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