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The ‘Northeast Florida Counts' website is intended to be a place where community members and policy makers can learn about the overall health of the community. It is a website dedicated to providing local health data, resources, promising best practices, news articles, and community events. In keeping with the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida's mission and values, it is important that the site provides balanced information on a broad range of topics affecting the health of our community and highlights the assets in our community.
These editorial guidelines are written to provide background on the different features of the site, explain the selection and management of site content, and describe the governing body of the site.
No advertising will be permitted unless the members of the ‘Northeast Florida Counts' Steering Committee (Steering Committee) approve it. This includes advertisements or content related to the endorsement or promotion of political candidates.
These editorial guidelines have been approved by the Steering Committee and shall be implemented by the ‘Northeast Florida Counts' administrator (site administrator). For situations in which these guidelines do not explicitly address content suggested by a third party contributor, the site administrator will use these guidelines in order to make a decision regarding the content. If a third party contributor disagrees with the site administrator’s interpretation of the guidelines, an appeal may be made to the Steering Committee by the third party contributor. The site administrator may also seek the advice and opinion of the Steering Committee at any time regarding site content, with the main objective being to ensure balanced content. The governing body and the ‘Northeast Florida Counts' website shall not be used to endorse, advocate, or promote any political initiatives or political figures.
Community Indicator Data
Indicators are presented in the eight topic areas to provide a measure of how our communities are doing. For each indicator, the actual value is shown as well as information about how we are doing compared to other geographic areas (the red-yellow-green gauge), how we are changing over time (green or red up and down arrows), or how we compare to a national or state average (blue/white or tri-color gradation gauge) to give some context to the information. It is important to remember that while we may be doing better on some indicators than other parts of the country or compared to a state or national average value that does not mean that we should not be working on improving all indicators. Indicators are described, giving meaning to the values, and links give the source of the data. The primary aims of the indicator system are to inform and facilitate positive change. To inform, we must provide accurate, reliable, and timely data at a geographically meaningful level. We accomplish this by selecting sources that meet the following criteria:
• Validated methodology for data collection and analysis
• Regular, scheduled publication of findings
• Focus on data values for small geographic areas, such as counties and postal codes that are available for all county-level locations in the U.S or locally through our community partners.
The majority of indicators on ‘Northeast Florida Counts' are maintained by the Healthy Communities Institute. The Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida maintains the remaining indicators; these indicators have been selected and approved by the Steering Committee. Community indicators shall not be replaced, removed, or added without approval from the Steering Committee.
Through the Healthy Communities indicator system, community members have easy access to critical information about their community. The status of the community can be displayed in several ways that are easy to understand.
Regional Comparison Indicators
For indicators that are meaningfully displayed as an objective value that can be compared to other communities, the local value is assigned a status (green = excellent, yellow = fair, or red = poor) based on how the local value ranks in comparison to other communities. These indicators compare a community's measure to a distribution of other relevant geographies. For indicators where a high value is good, indicators are assigned green values if the value is better than or equal to the 50th percentile, yellow if the value is between the 50th percentile and the 25th percentile, and red if the value is less than the 25th percentile. In this ranking approach, the median is the value that provides the cut-off between the green and yellow ranking.
Regional Comparison Indicator Example: The infant mortality rate in all 3077 US counties is collected and the rate of infant mortality (number of infant deaths/100 births) is entered in a spreadsheet. The rates are ordered from lowest to highest. The 50th percentile or median value is the rate of the 1,539th value in the list of values (3077 / 2 = 1538.5, standard rounding rules round the number to 1539). Often the distribution of counties within a state or other regions must be used instead of US counties because the data is not available nationally. The cut-off point between yellow and red is the 75th percentile, or the 2,309th value in the list of values.
Average Comparison Indicators
For indicators that are not meaningfully displayed as an objective value (i.e. median home value) or where we do not have values for other communities, but do have a national or state mean value, the blue/white indicator dial (if direction does not matter) or tri-color dial (if direction matters) simply shows how our community compares nationally or statewide. This indicator is a useful way to present community data compared to the state or national median or mean value and allow the user to interpret the local indicator value.
Average Comparison Indicator Example: In a community the median home price is above the median home value compared to 39 other counties in the state. The fact that the median home value is above the median can be interpreted in two ways, depending on the end-users perspective: if you are selling your home, high median values may be a beneficial, but if you are trying to purchase a home, high median values may be a negative.
Time Period Comparison Indicators
These indicators show how an outcome varies over a significant amount of time, a commonly accepted period in the field, as indicated in the description. These indicators have three states: getting better, getting worse, or stayed the same. These indicators are typically used when distribution data is not available to calculate a comparison distribution or when trend data seems more relevant and important on an issue than comparison to other locales. They are also useful to highlight when a measure compares favorably to other communities, but the measure is actually moving in the wrong direction.
Time Period Comparison Indicator Example: In community A, the percent of the population that is overweight or obese is 50.5% and this percentage has been growing over the last three years. The yearly percentages exceed the CDC 2020 Healthy People goal for healthy weight (<40% of adult population overweight or obese), though the local value (50.5%) is still better than the median value where 61.3% of adult population is overweight or obese in the state. In this case, a time period comparison indicator can be used to show that the community trend is increasing and there is a growing percentage of the adult population that is either overweight or obese.
Community Indicator Data Standards:
1. Data must be scientifically collected using quality research standards and/or be peer reviewed.
2. Data from academic institutions or government entities is preferred.
3. Service statistics from local agencies are not typically scientifically collected data. This information can be incorporated into the site in other areas, but not usually as community indicators.
4. The source of the data is identified and if a conflict of interest could exist on the part of the data collector, that will be clearly noted, e.g. a data collector with a commercial interest in the data.
Criteria for consideration of proposed new indicators:
1. Does it add value? (Does it fill a gap? Is it a good enough proxy measure for an area for which we want an indicator? Is it better than a current indicator?)
2. Dependable updates? (Is there the capacity for ongoing measurement?)
3. Is it scientifically valid? (Has it undergone a peer review process?)
4. Is the data available - both a value for our county and some comparison data?
Databases of promising practices and articles and literature are both initially populated by a database of national resources created by the Healthy Communities Institute. In our local communities, we have the opportunity to add local content to these sections. The sources include health departments, federal agencies, universities, and community organizations--not individuals.
Adding a Promising Practice
The site administrator will consult with these editorial guidelines and the Steering Committee, as necessary, to determine the appropriateness of adding local promising practices. Again, we will use the four central questions as part of determining appropriateness of content:
The intervention must be community-focused, health related, effective, and an evidence-based practice. The research and/or evaluation process must be rigorous and the results statistically significant.
On the home page, we post local feature articles and stories on topics that enhance, analyze and provide deeper understanding of the community health indicator data, potentially promising practices, and community assets. Feature articles may be as simple as linking to existing web articles about a particular issue along with a brief article that relates to local assets or indicators or they may be completely written and created locally. Feature articles are generally rotated on a bi-weekly basis with an eye to providing a diverse array of stories with a local emphasis.
Adding Feature Articles
The site administrator, in consultation with the Steering Committee as necessary, will choose the feature articles based on what is deemed important local health-related news.
On the home page we highlight local health programs, initiatives, or events and provide relevant website and resources for those items.
Adding Featured Content
The site administrator, in consultation with the Steering Committee as necessary, will choose the featured content based on what is deemed important local health-related news.
The aim of the event calendar is to provide a central repository with on-going health events in Northeast Florida including health fairs, health classes and lectures, screenings, or other relevant events.
The site administrator, in consultation with the Steering Committee as necessary, will add health-related events.
Links to government sites, academic centers, and some community-based organizations and foundations will be permitted only if the site includes health and human services related information and data. Links will not be provided to advocacy organizations and organizations that offer or support products or services that are detrimental to health, such as tobacco products. Links will not be provided to political organizations or campaigns. Links should provide a community-focused, health-related, effective, and legitimate resource to users. The site administrator, in consultation with the Steering Committee as necessary, will choose resource links based on what is deemed an important and legitimate health-related resource.
Website survey questions are non-scientific polls to gather information about how well the ‘Northeast Florida Counts’ website is serving its audience. The site administrator will manage this tool.
NE Florida Counts