JOHNSON CITY Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean of the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, will testify today before a Tennessee Senate committee on the overall health of the Volunteer State in the wake of its rise in annual rankings that gauge the health of all 50 states.
Wykoff said there is ample reason for Tennesseans to be heartened about the latest "America's Health Rankings," which were released in December 2011. He will offer details behind Tennessee's rank of No. 39 - its best number since the rankings began in 1990 - when he speaks this afternoon before the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare.
The state will stream the proceedings live at this link.
"When I became dean of the college in 2006, we were ranked 48th in the nation," Wykoff said. "There is still work to be done, but there is much reason for encouragement. We're moving in the right direction because so many people are making consistent, concerted efforts to make our state healthier.
"One of the key factors in our forward movement is health education, and education is what will push us even higher. Involving the public in this issue is a critical component - everyone should be aware of our challenges and what each of us can do to make things better. We need to work with families so they can make a difference. At the end of the day, our health starts at home by asking ourselves these questions: 'Do we eat a healthy diet? Do we exercise? Do we spend time together as a family?'"
Wykoff is a member of Gov. Bill Haslam's newly formed Governor's Task Force on Health and Wellness. He is also executive director of the Tennessee Institute of Public Health, which is housed at ETSU.