The Health Buzz

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Sustainability will be at the forefront of next month’s Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Institute. To clarify, we’re not referring to solar panels or wind turbines, but rather programmatic sustainability. We’ll focus on how HC50 projects can sustain their work and achieve long-term success, even after the Challenge concludes. Do you remember the Project Sustainability Technical Assistance Survey we sent out a couple months ago? The responses from that survey have been incredibly useful. Those answers have shaped discussion questions and resources, guided the Ask the Expert Webinar with Jennifer Sweeney, and helped craft the Institute themes and agenda. ...
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A couple of Fridays ago, roughly 80 volunteers descended on an eight-acre patch of land on the southeast side of Lawrence.   The land is owned by Monarch Beverage, which already has an impressive campus just to the north.  These eight acres Monarch has pledged not to develop; they are the grounds of the  Lawrence Community Gardens , founded and led by Sharonna Moore.   Sharonna Moore is a woman with a vision to bring healthy, fresh, garden-grown produce for free or reduced cost to neighbors on the far east side of Indianapolis who don't normally have access.  I have yet to meet someone who doesn't follow up a mention of Sharonna with, "she's amazing."  ...
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Welcome to the Learning Network’s Healthy Communities Podcast! In this podcast, I will talk to public health experts about common health issues in our communities, and how HC projects aim to address them. We hope to create about a 20 minute episode on a specific topic that will change each week. We hope that the podcast provides you with information that is interesting, relevant and encouraging. If you have any comments or suggestions please leave those on the comment section at the bottom of the page. In Episode 4, we talk about health literacy and the importance of community health workers. I talked with Dr. Bradi Granger, Professor at the School of Nursing ...
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This is part two of a three-part series to tell you about a unique elementary school, nestled in Lawrence: Harrison Hill School. This part of Lawrence is economically depressed, and its residents frequently struggle with poverty and the challenges that go with it. Thanks to Community Liaison Neal Gore, family engagement is front and center at Harrison Hill, and that engagement has enabled the school to teach families healthy habits regarding nutrition and physical activity on a collaborative scale that we at Jump IN haven’t seen at any other schools.  Neal is interested in not only creating a healthy school, but he’s also trying to create a healthier neighborhood.   ...
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Photo courtesy of Smart Growth America Today, May 18, marks an interesting confluence; it is Bike-to-Work Day, Infrastructure Week and a fitness #4health4body themed-Mental Health Month. A logical marrying of the three: biking, infrastructure and fitness for mental health, is Complete Streets. The Complete Streets approach is  challenging the conventional pedagogy of urban planning and design by shifting the focus from a car culture to a holistic people-oriented culture. The Department of Transportation calls this approach , “safe use and support mobility for all users.” This means that the pedestrian, the biker, the car and the bus share ownership of ...
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Welcome to the Learning Network’s Healthy Communities Podcast! In this podcast, I will talk to public health experts about common health issues in our communities, and how HC projects aim to address them. We hope to create about a 20 minute episode on a specific topic that will change each week. We hope that the podcast provides you with information that is interesting, relevant and encouraging. If you have any comments or suggestions please leave those on the comment section at the bottom of the page. In Episode 3, I talked with Moria Nagy, DeKalb County Community Gardens co-president, about hunger and food insecurity. We’ll see how healthy food delivery ...
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Photo Courtesy of Mental Health America When we train, play sports or work out, we build up stamina, our physical ability to respond to physical stress. David Shern, PhD, senior science advisor at Mental Health America, looks at treating mental health similarly, to “develop strong mental health which gives us increased resilience to deal with the adversities that we experience in life, to concentrate better, to be more productive, and to be more emotionally well balanced.” However, to treat mental health, we must bring awareness to its prevalence and to destigmatize its negative connotation. Mental health affects everyone. According to the Health and Human ...
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This is part one of a three-part series to tell you about a unique elementary school, nestled in Lawrence: Harrison Hill School.  That part of Lawrence is economically depressed, and its residents frequently struggle with poverty and the challenges that go with it.  Family engagement is front and center at Harrison Hill, and that engagement has enabled the school to teach families healthy habits regarding nutrition and physical activity on a collaborative scale that we at Jump IN haven’t seen at any other schools.  The driver of this engagement is Neal Gore, the school’s Community Liaison.  Neal’s wife has been a teacher at the school for a long time, and their ...
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In 1986, Congress enacted the Fair Housing Act in efforts to accomplish two goals: to protect individuals renting or buying a home from discrimination and, second, to integrate racially segregated communities. Fifty years have passed since that day and while we may be quick to see visible inequities and disparities among racially separated communities, it’s important to highlight some of its successes. Semantics matter. In the Act’s fifty years, progress has been slow and has a long way to go; however, the conversation today is dramatically different from the one back then. Looking at the 2010 census tract, the average white resident lives in a tract that is ...
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ICYMI NACo hosted a Twitter chat for County Health Day . If you missed it, no problem. You can relive the Twitter chat by following the hashtag #CountyHealth. Here are some highlights below! Thank you to everyone who participated! Q1 : What are your county’s top 3 health priorities? San Diego County: Live Well San Diego is San Diego County's vision for a region that is Building Better Health, Living Safely & Thriving. Mecklenburg County: Based off Mecklenburg County's State of the County Health Report, our priorities are Chronic Disease, Mental Health, and Access to Care.  Wichita Falls County: Smoke free vehicles, healthier schools and ...
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Welcome to the Learning Network’s Healthy Communities Podcast! In this podcast, I will talk to public health experts about common health issues in our communities, and how HC projects aim to address them. We hope to create about a 20 minute episode on a specific topic that will change each week. We hope that the podcast provides you with information that is interesting, relevant and encouraging. If you have any comments or suggestions please leave those on the comment section at the bottom of the page. In Episode 2, I talked with Elyse Jardine, program manager for the Institute for Public Health Innovation and the Health Collaborative in Danville, Virginia, ...
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The American Public Health Association’s National Public Health Week began Monday, April 2, with its annual NPHW forum, which featured public health experts including keynote speaker U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH. Dr. Adams and a distinguished panel looked at the future of public health for this year’s theme, “Healthiest Nation 2030: Changing Our Future Together.” The recent CDC findings regarding the second straight year of declining life expectancy in the US set the context for Dr. Adams’s address. “For the first time ever, we can’t say that our kids will live longer than us,” said Dr. Adams. The US Surgeon General continued with a more hopeful ...
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By Moria Nagy, DeKalb County Community Gardens President Side of Vehicle displaying Safe Passage advertisement DeKalb County Community Gardens is a non-profit organization that seeks to empower individuals to make healthy food choices. The organization managers over 50 community garden spaces and also the Walnut Grove Vocational Farm, a location that educates those with special needs in agricultural and horticultural techniques. The DCCG Grow-mobile is a refrigerated produce truck that serves as pop-up food pantry and education center for the residents of DeKalb County. Our mobile Chef, Christy Sharp from the Kishwaukee Education Consortium ...
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*This is cross-posted from the NACo blog .   The beginning stages of initiative planning are often the most exciting. All too often, however, these efforts eventually wain, and the momentum slows to a snail pace, stopping either within or just short of the implementation phase. The phenomena of “getting stuck” is one that is not lost on finalists of the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge . John Hornbeck, project manager for Wyandotte County, Kan., explains that “the county had already established, through several different master plans, the importance of safe routes to parks, the importance of park trails and other off-street trails, the importance ...
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When Spartanburg County launched our HealthyCommunity50 (HC50) Challenge, we sought to gain participation from four municipalities that would work towards improved health in their communities. Currently, we have been able to engage eight different municipalities in Spartanburg County. Quarterly Walks with Elected Officials In the first year of HC50, we held four quarterly walks hosted by elected officials in eight different municipalities throughout Spartanburg County and engaging over 300 people. Participants per location have ranged between 4 and 49. The smaller sizes have allowed residents to engage in deeper conversations with their representatives. ...
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  When Vida Benjamin came to Promiseland Child Care center on the far eastside of Indianapolis, she’d been recently laid off and was interested in volunteering and being with the children, never expecting she’d stumble on a new passion.  Clearly gifted with the children, one day she was asked if she might be interested in joining Promiseland on staff, and today she’s been its director for over four years. Promiseland is a Paths to QUALITY level 3 licensed, registered, child care ministry, housed in Calvary Temple "The Caring Place” church. Promiseland serves 65 children, ages 6 weeks through 5 years, and has a special program for older children during ...
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Welcome to the Learning Network’s Healthy Communities Podcast! In this podcast, I will talk to public health experts about common health issues in our communities, and how HC projects aim to address them. We hope to create about a 20 minute episode on a specific topic that will change each week. We hope that the podcast provides you with information that is interesting, relevant and encouraging. If you have any comments or suggestions please leave those on the comment section at the bottom of the page. In Episode 1, I talked with Megan McKinney Cooper, communications director for JumpIN for Healthy Kids from Greater Lawrence, Indiana about childhood overweight ...
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Nutrition and Community

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Those are two of the major tenets of Dutchess County’s award-winning Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge  microgreens project , and both were recently on display in the City of Poughkeepsie. Several of the project’s collaborators – Dutchess County Office for the Aging, Indoor Organic Gardens of Poughkeepsie, and Hudson Valley Community Center – brought together local seniors and Poughkeepsie City School District students to enjoy a winter microgreens luncheon . As part of Dutchess County’s project, microgreens, which are young greens with the comparable nutritional value of fully grown vegetables, have been added to the diets of two vulnerable ...
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It doesn’t seem difficult to solve an individual face of a Rubik’s cube; however, what makes the cube so complex is that each of those blocks corresponds to another and therefore changing one can change them all. This interconnected web seems to be unsolvable to the naked eye, but looking closer we can see there are in fact multiple solutions to our puzzle. How do we solve it? How do we move the green corner piece without disjointing the completed orange side? Well, a good place to start is by changing your perspective, your understanding and your conceptualization of the problem. When we begin to think of our wicked problems as a traceable interconnected ...
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In the early 1980s, former Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret M. Heckler directed a group of experts to study the health status of minority populations in the US. The report, which became known as the Heckler Report , found significant disparities between Whites and racial and ethnic minorities, and offered recommendations to address those imbalances. The report brought minority health to the national forefront paving the path for the creation of the Office of Minority Health. More than 30 years since the Heckler Report, there have been notable achievements in black heath as expressed in increases in life expectancy and decreases in the mortality ...
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