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Data in the annual ACT Rochester report card shows that 'change is urgently needed'

ACT Rochester has released its 2022 'report card' looking at data for various community issues.
ACT Rochester
ACT Rochester has released its 2022 'report card' looking at data for various community issues.

A new report card on issues and challenges facing the Rochester area shows that change is urgently needed.

That’s the main focus of the 10th ‘Report Card’ issued by the organization ACT Rochesterwhich annually crunches data on various types of issues facing a 9-county region including education, economic security, and public safety.

Ann Johnson is the executive director for ACT Rochester, and she said the report card shows that change is urgently needed in a number of areas.

That includes what the report stated are significant racial and ethnic disparities in the area, including maternal health.

“There’s lots of momentum in the community, there’s interest in setting up a birthing center for moms of color,” said Johnson. “And there’s also interest in training doulas to be able to be with moms who look like them and be an interface between the mom and the doctor.”

Johnson said although data like this is important, what is even more crucial is that it gets acted upon.

“If we start a new committee we need them to take action and do things and spend money on things that are measurable,” said Johnson. “Because we’ve been identifying a lot of these issues for a long time. Not that new ones won’t come out, not that we didn’t have a horrible pandemic to have to prioritize and deal with, but we’re done, we need to move forward.”

The latest report from ACT Rochester shows disparities in terms of maternal health among women who are Black or Latina compared to white mothers, and it also shows uneven numbers in terms of earnings power.

The report card shows that in Monroe County, a woman earns 68 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

The new ACT Rochester report card also shows that the region is doing as well as, or better than New York state as a whole in only one of eight areas, and that is housing. The local region is performing slightly worse than the state in areas such as economic security, education and public safety.

The Rochester Area Community Foundation hosts and helps support ACT Rochester, and the foundation’s president and CEO, Jennifer Leonard, said that with this latest report card, ACT Rochester “has equipped local towns as well as cities and counties to face the facts and foster necessary changes in response to the conditions around us.”

Ann Johnson, who has led ACT Rochester for 12 years, has already announced that she will be retiring in July.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.