The Vermont State Health Assessment, is an overview of what we know about the health of people in Vermont at a point in time. The Assessment is an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data that examines health inequities by race and ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status and geography. The Assessment is conducted every five years.
Results of the State Health Assessment are used to develop the State Health Improvement Plan. The Plan outlines how the Department of Health and other state and community partners will prioritize efforts to promote health and equity in Vermont over a five-year period. It is a way for different sectors and organizations to coordinate on key issues to improve the lives of people in Vermont.
SHA (Assessment) = State Health Assessment = what do we know?
SHIP (Plan) = State Health Improvement Plan = what are we going to do about it?
The Assessment takes data from around the state and presents it in a way that summarizes the main health issues facing Vermonters. The Plan takes that information and narrows it down to 3-5 priorities that the state will focus on for the next five years.
2024 State Health Assessment
The Department of Health, with guidance and direction from an external Steering Committee, began the process of updating the State Health Assessment in the summer of 2023.
Read more about our overall approach and timeline.
One of the first steps was reviewing publicly available data about the health and well-being of the entire state and populations experiencing disproportionate health inequities. The results can be found in the data briefs below. This data was used to inform conversations with individuals and community partners to get a fuller picture of the strengths and needs of people in Vermont.
The last State Health Assessment was completed in 2018. We thank the many organizations and people who participated in the public engagement process and responded to drafts during the public comment period. Their voices and stories informed and enriched this assessment.
Read the full Vermont State Health Assessment 2018 – or select chapters by subject below:
|To better understand the root cause of health outcomes and differences in health among us, this State Health Assessment 2018 is focused on the concept of health equity. Health equity exists when all people have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy – especially those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage, historical injustice, and other systemic inequalities that are often associated with the social categories of race, gender, ethnicity, social position, sexual orientation, and disability. This section describes our vision for health equity, the public health system in Vermont, and offers readers a guide to the the data and methods used for this assessment.
|This section presents key demographic trends in Vermont (population density, age projections, race and ethnicity, income and educational attainment) and fundamental health statistics (birth and fertility, infant mortality, life expectancy and quality of life, leading causes of hospitalization and death, and years of potential life lost).
|Some of us have more opportunities than others to enjoy good health and quality of life. Vermonters who are white and heterosexual, do not have a disability, live in urban or suburban areas, or are of middle or upper class generally have better health compared to other Vermonters. This section takes a closer look at the health status of people of color, those who are LGBTQ, those who are living with disabilities, or are of lower socioeconomic status.
|The health and wellness of children and families is a foundation for the health of all Vermonters. This section covers family planning and pregnancy, the health of infants to age 6, and the health of students age 7 to 17.
|Regular physical activity and good nutrition are behaviors that protect against overweight and obesity, plus a number of other chronic conditions. This section covers protective factors, risk behaviors (tobacco, alcohol and drug use), mental health, morbidity (obesity, cancer, lung disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and arthritis), and mortality associated with chronic conditions.
|Injuries are not simply random acts of fate or the result of individual carelessness, but events to understand and prevent. This section covers emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths from injuries of all causes, unintentional injuries (such as falls, motor vehicle crashes, poisoning) and intentional injuries (suicide, firearms, intimate partner violence).
|The food we eat, the air we breathe, the products we use, and the environments in which we live, work, learn and play affect our health and quality of life. This section covers environmental monitoring for health, consumer health, and climate and health.
|The incidence of infectious disease in Vermont is less common than chronic disease. Still, we must keep a close watch as new risks emerge due to drug resistance, novel infections and zoonotic agents. This section covers sexually transmitted diseases, immunization, tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases, and other communicable conditions.
|Equitable access to health care means that quality and comprehensive health services are equally available, affordable, coordinated, culturally appropriate and offered with respect to all. As our partners stated: "Access to health care should not be a privilege." This section covers primary care and oral health care, treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and hospitals and health clinics.
|This assessment employs methods from a variety of fields. This section describes how we chose the data to present, its reliability and validity, methodology of statistical analysis and data interpretation, along with a list of the state and national data sources used, and the organizations that participated in the state health assessment engagement process.
The strategic approach of the State Health Improvement Plan 2019-2023 is built on data in the State Health Assessment 2018, and thanks to the active engagement of individuals and partners across the state. Four broad strategies emerged during the 2018 assessment and improvement planning process to improve outcomes in six priority health and social conditions:
- Child Development
- Chronic Disease
- Mental Health
- Oral Health
- Substance Use
Social Determinants: Housing, Transportation, Food, Economic Security
Annual action plans were developed with partners, and progress was tracked on the State Health Improvement Plan Performance Scorecard
…as a Vermonter?
You can see how our state is doing. We’re all in this together. This is about improving the health of our people, our communities, and our state. Thank you for your interest in this project, and contact us if you have questions or comments.
…as an organization that works with Vermonters?
You can look at the State Health Assessment and use the information to make decisions. You can use the State Health Improvement Plan priorities to target efforts and work across sectors as we work as a state to improve the health of people in Vermont.
…as an employee of the State of Vermont?
The SHA can continue to ground us in data. It consolidates many topics to support comparisons, discussion, and data-driven decision making.
The SHIP can help us set priorities in our work and advocate for resources. It puts us on the same page as our partners, who are using the same plan. It helps us accomplish our goals.
The SHIP priorities are the state level plan; we still have our own department and division level plans. These plans work together. Just because we have these priorities doesn’t mean we’re leaving behind the other good work we need to do. Using these plans is a good way to focus our work using data, doing those things within our control to improve the health of people in Vermont.