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Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 12:05 am

HEALTHY AND HAPPY

Central and southern Illinois have some serious work to do when it comes to getting healthy. According to the 2016 County Health Rankings compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the least healthy counties in Illinois are mostly concentrated in southern and central Illinois. (Sangamon County is ranked 69 out of 102, despite having one of the highest numbers of doctors per capita in the state.) To fix that health disparity, SIU School of Medicine in Springfield and SIU HealthCare are launching a new Population Science and Health Program on Oct. 1. According to SIU HealthCare, 22 of the 25 least-healthy counties in Illinois are within SIU’s service area. The new program will study our physical and emotional environments, attempting to help health care providers better address the factors that influence illness, injury and overall well-being. “Our vision is this: We want to learn the health challenges our residents face and find the solutions to make them healthier,” said Dr. Sameer Vohra, executive director of the Office of Population Science and Policy at SIU. “This program extends health care beyond the patient visit to improve not just individual health but health outcomes for entire communities.” For more info, visit bit.ly/SIUpophealth.

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