Lorri Brown with Healthy Community Coalition shared data relating to greater Franklin County at the Nov. 22 Farmington Selectmen meeting. This graph compares Franklin County and Maine figures. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — At the Nov. 22 Selectmen meeting, Lorri Brown with Healthy Community Coalition shared data regarding health issues in the greater Franklin County community and ways the coalition is working to further improve health and wellbeing in the region.

“We do have some great data,” she said. “I think visuals really help to tell the story. Healthy Community Coalition is part of MaineHealth, which is the health care system here in Farmington. We’ve been around since 1989-ish serving greater Franklin County, including Livermore and Livermore Falls for the last 30 years.”

HCC was quiet during COVID-19, this is a good opportunity to reemerge, share with the community what it has been doing, Brown said.

The work HCC does with the larger health care system is to make the community healthier, Brown stated. “A healthy community is happier, more productive,” she added.

Every few years the state does a community health needs assessment, Brown noted. Franklin County data from eight to ten years ago was compared with that from the last three or four year cycle and the current state average, she said. She shared slides showing comparisons for several categories.

The percentage of children from this area living in poverty has gone down a little bit, Brown said. “We’re doing better but still haven’t met the state,” she noted. Household median income has increased, but is still below the state. “[Income] helps form the overall health of our individuals,” she stated.


High school graduation rates have improved, are almost at the state level, Brown said.

Potential life loss rates – those who died before age 75 from injury, accident, not just old age – have risen from about 5,750 to just under 7,000, are almost at state level, she noted. Injury and overdose death rates have also increased in this region, Brown said.

Cancer death rates have dropped, but it is still the number one early death rate cause in Franklin County, Brown said. Diabetes is showing a pretty significant increase and HCC is doing a lot of work on diabetes prevention, she noted. Cardiovascular death rates have dropped but are still above state level, she added.

After cancer, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, unintentional injury and stroke are the next four highest causes of death in greater Franklin County, Brown noted. At the state level, unintentional injury causes more deaths than chronic lower respiratory disease while the other three are in the same order, one of Brown’s slides showed.

Healthy Community Coalition shared data at the Nov. 22 Farmington Selectmen meeting regarding changes in the level of chronic disease in Greater Franklin County. With chronic diseases, 75% are changeable with lifestyle changes, selectmen were told. Submitted photo

Most chronic diseases are preventable, some 75% are changeable with lifestyle changes, Brown stressed. There has been a slight increase in smoking but the good news is exposure to second hand smoke is going down although both are above the state average, she noted.

HCC’s mission is “working together to improve the health and well-being of individuals in our communities.”


“At HCC we focus on chronic disease prevention and management, behavioral health prevention and management and community outreach and access,” Brown stated. She then shared programs and things HCC is doing in those areas. “HCC has a new mobile unit that is a little bit taller, easier on gas, we will be out with it throughout the winter,” she noted.

HCC connects the public health care system with community partners to make the community better for all, Brown said.

HCC future goals include expanding outreach activities to address social needs and health; ​securing sustainable funding to support outreach efforts; and ​developing worksite wellness programs – bringing services to employees.

“Years ago social needs wasn’t even a term,” Brown said. “We didn’t think about health and food insecurity, health and receiving oil to heat the home​. That has been a real shift I am excited about.”

Selectman Stephan Bunker asked about flavored vape pens usage and spoke of efforts to reduce cancer among firefighters.

HCC doesn’t lobby, needs to stick with education about all cigarette use, has helped school districts set policies, Brown replied. A lung cancer screening program is just starting while for the underinsured HCC can help find services, she added.

For more information, visit the HCC website or call 207-779-2926.

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