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The North Country's health, measured online

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Blood pressure, cholesterol, weight - doctors check all of these indicators to see whether their patients are healthy. Zooming out a bit, how would you measure the health of an entire region?

One group of advocates intends to do just that, with a new website called the North Country Health Compass. It's a project by a Fort Drum-based planning agency.

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Reported by

Zach Hirsch
Reporter and Producer

The site is "one-stop shopping" for all information relating to public health in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties, known as the tri-county region.

"The goals of the project were to develop a regional, web-based, continuously updated data system," said Ian Grant, one of the lead administrators of the online tool.

Speaking last week via webcast, he said he and his staff are concerned about the biggest health issues in the tri-county region, which include mental health, substance abuse, and chronic diseases. The website is tackling those, he says, with user-friendly, public education.

"We're using a three-color scheme to help identify where we are. Red is bad, green is good, and if we're in the yellow, it means that there's some work to be done."

Visitors can learn about a wide variety of public health indicators. Grant demonstrates by clicking on "adults unable to afford to see a doctor."

"We can see that in Jefferson and Lewis County, we're in the green, so we're not doing too bad there. But in St. Lawrence County, we're in the red," he said.

The data center includes numbers on poverty, transportation, and education. Grant says all of these factor into the overall well-being of any community.

"All this is free. All this is specific to the region. All this is accessible 24/7," Grant says.

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