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Ohio's Health Emergency Preparedness Lags Behind Nation

Ohio continues to do better in preparing for public health emergencies like flu outbreaks or flooding, according to a study released this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Ohio received a six on a 10-point scale for preparedness, compared to the national average of 6.7. That's a 9 percent improvement for the state since 2013. Rankings were based on things like hazard planning in schools, the number of paramedics in hospitals, relationships among agencies and the general public, and other factors.

Dr. Alonzo Plough, chief science officer at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, says Ohio still needs work when it comes to educating communities on infectious disease outbreaks like the measles.

"Ohio, like other states, can do a better job in getting good scientific information to parents so that they vaccinate their young children," Plough said.

Ohio’s biggest improvement was in environmental and occupational health preparedness with an 18 percent increase. But the report noted the state still faces large challenges in some areas, including monitoring and responding to air pollution and childhood asthma.

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