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For Connecticut's DPH, a Big-Picture Snapshot of State Health

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News

A new report called "Healthy Connecticut 2020," from the state Department of Public Health, outlines some of the challenges facing Connecticut health care professionals in the coming decade.

Dr. Jewel Mullen, the commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Public Health, said the study is a broad look at health promotion and disease prevention. "[It's] not just from the perspective of the kinds of disease that exist in the population," she said, "but from the perspective of the conditions that exist in communities, and across health care systems, and in environments that lead to better or worse health."

Mullen said that when you look at the data, Connecticut is fairly healthy. The state is meeting most targets on things like smoking, obesity, and teen birth rates.

Here's the problem: there's still a lot of disparity among different racial and income groups. They are disparities that aren't just limited to any one city or town. "Connecticut has 169 cities and towns," Mullen said, "and I can't imagine one in which there isn't something we should focus on. The good news is that we're paying attention to all the towns. The bad news, for some people, is that we're telling them they have problems they either didn't realize or they didn't really want to know."

Moving forward, Mullen said the DPH will work with local health care directors and hospitals -- "hands on foot soldiers," as she calls them -- to improve state health overall by addressing the health issues unique to their community.

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