Princeton, N.J.—A life expectancy map released today illustrates that opportunities to lead a long and healthy life can vary dramatically by neighborhood in Las Vegas. In fact, life expectancy can differ by as much as 16 years in the nine miles that separate The Strip from Southeast Las Vegas.
The map, created by researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Center on Society and Health with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), is the latest in a series developed to raise public awareness of how health is shaped by social and environmental factors across the United States and to support the work of local officials and community organizations to reduce health disparities.
“The health differences shown in these maps aren’t unique to one area. We see them in big cities, small towns, and rural areas across America,” said Derek Chapman, Ph.D., associate director for research, VCU Center on Society and Health. “Our goal is to help local officials, residents, and others understand that there’s more to health than health care and that improving health requires having a broad range of players at the table.”
The Las Vegas Healthy Communities Coalition—comprised of nearly 20 community-based groups ranging from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to Vegas PBS—is already tackling many of the factors that influence life expectancy including education, health, the environment, public safety and workforce development. Led by the United Way of Southern Nevada, the Coalition is working to spur partnerships and collaboration among diverse community-based organizations and the sharing of resources and best practices in order to improve the health and well-being of Las Vegas Valley residents.
“To build a Culture of Health we must build a society where everyone, no matter who they are or where they live, has the opportunity to lead a fulfilling, productive and healthy life,” said RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD. “There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Each community must chart its own course and everyone has a role to play for better health in their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their schools and in their towns.”
In 2013, the RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America released similar maps prepared by VCU for Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and the San Joaquin Valley in California. In the coming months, 19 additional maps will be released for cities and rural areas across the country. You can view the maps at http://bit.ly/1Gyc6ax. Follow the discussion on Twitter at #CloseHealthGaps.
About The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Center on Society and Health
The VCU Center on Society and Health is an academic research center that studies the health implications of social factors—such as education, income, neighborhood and community environmental conditions, and public policy. Its mission is to answer relevant questions that can “move the needle” to improve the health of Americans. We present our work in formats and venues that are useful to decision-makers and change agents. The Center pursues these goals through collaboration with scholars in different disciplines at VCU and other institutions, and by nurturing partnerships with community, government, and private-sector stakeholders.