Vilas County Public Health - Home


National Public Health Week 2017 is April 3rd- 9th.

National Public Health week is used to support strong public health systems and raise awareness about their role in creating the healthiest nation in one generation!

Forest, Oneida and Vilas counties have worked together to develop the 2017 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). This is accomplished by assessing the needs of our communities as a whole, and developing a plan to address those needs.

Please view this video to learn more about what we are doing and what you can do to help build a healthy community! 

Parents Who Host, Lose the Most

April is Underage Alcohol Use and Abuse Awareness Month 

In recognition of the health and social costs of underage drinking, Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed April 2017 as Underage Alcohol Use and Abuse Awareness Month (PDF) .

Adults play a big role in shaping young people's opinions about drinking.  Drug Free Action Alliance created the Parents Who Host, Lose The Most campaign to encourage everyone, especially parents, to send a joint message that teen's drinking alcohol is unhealthy, unsafe and unacceptable. 

Underage drinking is hazardous to health and safety

Children who drink alcohol are more likely to:

  • Use drugs.
  • Get bad grades.
  • Die (due to alcohol poisoning, motor crashes and homicide).
  • Make bad decisions.
  • Have health problems.

Learn more about the risks of underage drinking and ways to protect the health and safety of youth and young adults.

Ideas for Alcohol-Free Parties:

  • Host a themed party.  Have teens dress up in costumes.  Give a prize to the best or most unique costume.
  • Have a food-tasting party.  Serve exotic types of food or foods that would go with the dance theme. 
  • Hold a sports or game tournament.  Teens can challenge one another to play basketball, cards, dance/music/singing video games, or other games.

No matter what you plan with your teen, make sure you are there to chaperone.

New Rankings Show Healthiest and Least Healthy Counties in Wisconsin 



Vilas County ranked 66 out of 72 counties for Health Outcomes and 39 for Health Factors, according to the seventh annual County Health Rankings, released on March 29, 2017 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI).  The Rankings provide a snapshot that where you live effects how well and how long you live compared to other counties.  The local data makes it clear that good health goes beyond medical care; it includes jobs, housing, education, access to healthy foods and more. According to the 2017 Rankings, the five healthiest counties in Wisconsin, starting with most healthy, are Ozaukee County, Kewaunee County, St. Croix County, Taylor County and Washington County. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy, are Menominee County, Milwaukee County, Sawyer County, Adams County and Washburn County.

Health Outcomes are measured by Length of Life and Quality of Life.  Vilas County has stayed the same in the factors that contribute to the 66 ranking.  These include premature death rates, number of low birthweight babies, percentage of people reporting poor physical days and percentage of people reporting poor mental health days. 

A part of the Health Outcomes is the Health Factors of a county.  Vilas is ranked at 39, an improvement from 2016’s ranking of 45.  This ranking is broken down in four different categories; Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors, and Physical Environment.

Most of the Health Behaviors, such as adults who smoke, who are obese, physical inactivity, and excess drinking, stayed the same as 2016.  Vilas County did have better rates in comparison to Wisconsin’s rates as a whole in two areas; higher access to exercise opportunities and lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases. However, the county has more teen births and higher alcohol-impaired driving deaths.

Clinical care is measured by the number of uninsured, the ratio of medical providers to residents, and the percentage of people with diabetes monitoring and mammography screenings.  Vilas County’s uninsured rate went from 13% in 2016 Rankings to 17% in 2017’s Rankings.  This is higher than the state rate of 9%.  The ratio for mental health providers to residents dropped in 2017, meaning Vilas County has more providers in the area to meet with residents.  However, the county’s ratio of mental health providers to residents is still three times higher than the State’s.

The most weight is given to the social and economic factors, such as graduation rates, some college, unemployment, social supports, violent crime and injury.  Vilas County’s 2016 and 2017’s data is similar with the exception of injury deaths. It did go down this year compared to 2016 but it is still higher than the Wisconsin rate.  Areas that are very important to the health of a community and continue to stay high include: unemployment rate, children in poverty and children in single-parent households.    

The County Health Rankings show us that where people live plays a key role in how long and how well they live.  Vilas County is fortunate to have agencies and community partners that provide opportunities to become physically active and eat healthier foods; offer health screenings and follow up care for chronic diseases; provide health education, prenatal programs, safety programs; offer prescription drug collections and drug and alcohol abuse programs.  Health is not found in the healthcare provider’s office, it is found in our homes, at our worksites, playgrounds and parks.  It must start with each and every one of us making good choices and making decisions that will make the healthy choice the easy choice.  The Rankings are available at

For more information, visit

The Vilas County Health Department has recently collaborated with Forest and Oneida County to complete a Community Health Needs Assessment and Health Improvement Plan.  The plan outlines the steps necessary to improve the health of our residents and can be found at



Strong Women Program

The Strong Women Program is a national evidence-based community exercise and nutrition program developed by Dr. Miriam E. Nelson and colleagues.  The program is based on how strength training and nutrition improve the health of women of all ages.  Each class includes progressive weight training, flexibility and balance activities for women to help build or keep muscle mass, strength, and function.  The instructors have been trained in the Strong Women Program and have had personal successes participating and leading strength training.

Sign up for upcoming classes now!  Please contact the following for dates, times and costs.

  • Pines Community Wellness Center (Northland Pines High School) - 1800 Pleasure Island Rd, Eagle River WI, 54521  Call: 715-479-4473
  • Lando Center - 4258 Cty Rd B, Land O’ Lakes, WI  54540  Call: 715-547-6333
  • Holy Family Catholic Church - 8950 Cty Rd J, Woodruff, WI  54568 Contact: Diane Erdman: 715-277-2368
  • Boulder Junction Community Center - 5392 Park St, Boulder Junction, WI  54512 Contact: Donna White (North Lakeland Community Education) at 715-543-2159