community health profile

A constant priority of our organization is to work closely with community partners, municipal agencies, private businesses, and non-profits to assess the public health infrastructure and possible ways to improve public health. The information presented below is intended to provide a picture of who lives here and what is impacting our region's health. It is our hope that the information presented in these reports will be useful in planning programs to improve the health of area residents.

In 2010, the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the results of a national County Health Rankings study. Compared with the State of NH as a whole, Strafford County ranked 7 out of 10. Factors such as adult smoking and obesity rates, high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, and preventable hospital stays were looked at. Click here for a snapshot of Strafford County's health rankings. Visit to view the full report.

Locally, we have developed a Community Health Profile for the six municipalities that make up the northern half of Strafford County: Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Rochester, and Strafford.

Download the full report 

Findings and Highlights

Northern Strafford County Demographics from the Community Health Profile:

  • The proportion of residents who hold at least a Bachelor's degree (15.3%) is almost half that of the state (28.7%)
  • The median household income in the region is slightly higher than the national average but less than the state average
  • The proportion of families living below the poverty level is much less than the national average and on par with the state
  • Over 40% of the population over 65 years is living with some type of disability; over 20% of 21-64 year olds are living with disability

Maternal and Birth Data:

  • A significantly higher percentages of births are paid for by Medicaid, births to mothers with less than a high school education and births to unmarried mothers
  • Maternal tobacco use is over 21.5%, that’s over twice the Healthy NH 2010 goal of 10%
  • The teen birth rate and pregnancy complications in 15-24 year olds are nearly double that of the state's

Leading Causes of Death:

  • Heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death
  • Suicide is in the top 10 leading causes of death ranking it higher than in national data
  • Accidents are the leading cause of preventable death for residents 34 and younger

Chronic Disease:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death
  • Lung cancer rates for males and females is significantly higher than state and national rates
  • Emergency Department discharges were more than 3 times higher than the state, on average

Behavioral Health:

  • Discharge rates for neurotic disorders, depressive disorders, and affective psychosis are significantly higher, sometimes as much as 4 times, than the state averages
  • Alcohol dependence among 35-44 year olds is lower than the state average but dependence among 65-74 year olds more than 4 times as high


Infrastructure capacity, community education, and increased cooperation among partnering communities and organizations was a driving force in the selection of the priorities for health improvement.  The following goals and objectives were chosen by the council based on work group feedback, available resources, and existing need.

Goal 1: Increase the involvement and enforcement of public health laws, regulations and ordinances at the local level (Essential Service 6, Indicator 6.2)
 Completed: Develop Local Emergency Operations Plans for all cities and towns in our Service Area to meet federal and state recommendations with emergency support function annexes.

Goal 2: Increase our service area capacity to diagnose and investigate health problem and hazards (Essential Service 2, Indicator 2.1)
 On-going: Develop Emergency Support Function #8: Health and Medical protocols into all service area Local Emergency Operations Plans.

Goal 3: Develop Emergency Support Function #8: Health and Medical protocols into all service area Local Emergency Operations Plans.
 In Progress: Develop Regional Health Officer model where position acts as deputy to local health officers and boards of health in technical assistance capacity.

Goal 4: Mobilize community partnerships to increase area capacity to respond to public health emergencies and disasters (Essential Service 4, Indicator 4.1)
 Completed: Incorporate community partners in development of LEOP.
 On-going: Obtain partnership agreements for inclusion in regional emergency guide.
 On-going: Coordinate with Community Benefits groups.

Goal 5: Increase community education on public health issues, possible natural/man made emergencies and disasters (Essential Service 3, Indicator 3.1)
 On-going: Participate in strategic activities to promote PHN, mission, and increase public health capacity.
 Completed: Develop regional emergency preparedness guide of local, state, regional and federal resources
 Completed: Develop a Service Directory for Stafford County
 In Progress: Coordinate education campaign on health issues for service area
 Completed: Develop web based tool of public health directory and existing public health initiatives.