According to an annual nationwide report, Nevada ranked 38th in overall public health this year. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick has more on what needs to be done to improve that score.
Since 1990, the United Health Foundation has been analyzing health data across the country. In all that time, Nevada has never ranked higher than 37th.
Dr. Laurine Tibaldi is chief medical officer for United Healthcare Nevada. She says the state’s biggest challenge is a lack of education.
“We only have about 70 percent of our students graduating high school, and that puts us at 48th," she says. "More education is definitely tied with better health outcomes.”
Tibaldi says the state should also plug more people into the health care system earlier.
“Raising more awareness of preventative healthcare and when immunizations need to be given; I think that would help us a lot," Tibaldi says. "If folks are only accessing healthcare when it’s a catastrophic event, then we never really have an opportunity to give preventative care.”
The report isn’t all bad news, though. The number of adults in Nevada who smoke dropped from 19 percent to 17 percent this year.
Tibaldi says if more medical students stayed in Nevada after graduation, this could go a long way in improving public health and alleviating the state’s doctor shortage.