By Mike Linn
State health officials believe services provided by Eastern New Mexico University and collaboration between local organizations are a few reasons why Roosevelt County’s latest public health assessment compares favorably against many counties in the state.
While figures for the entire state are not yet complete, Roosevelt County scored well in District 4 — including nine counties in eastern new Mexico — which in turn scored well state wide, according to estimates from Paula Miller, District 4 manager for the New Mexico Department of Health.
Roosevelt County fully or substantially met standards in 58 percent of the assessed categories, falling behind Curry County (70 percent), Guadalupe County (65 percent) and Quay County (65 percent) in the district.
Miller lauded several of Roosevelt County’s public health initiatives, including emergency planning efforts and the area’s community-wide action plan.
She also harped on ENMU’s contribution to public health.
“It’s a tremendous asset to have a university in the county when assessing a county’s public health,” Miller said.
For example, ENMU employs professors who understand how viruses and bacteria are transmitted and spread disease.
State health official Dan Williams said he was surprised Roosevelt and Curry Counties scored so well given the abundance of area agriculture, which can cause health problems.
But Williams noted there is room for improvement in Roosevelt County.
“There are gaps that need to be addressed,” he said, “and this info indicates room for improvement.”
Among the 10 areas assessed by the state department of public health, monitoring health county-wide drew the most concern from health officials.
For example, community demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, mental health data and environmental health indicators could be more accessible.
In the 10 categories assessed, Roosevelt County scored over 50 percent in seven categories, which Miller considers good.
Roosevelt County scored 34 percentile on effectively monitoring health status, and 31 percentile on research for innovative solutions to disease and poor health.