August 9, 2013
JEFFERSON COUNTY – On Wednesday, August 21 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Fort HealthCare is hosting the second annual Healthy Community Summit, which is a meeting for key influencers in population health management and positive health and wellness policy change. Interested members of the community are also highly encouraged to attend. RSVP for the event online here or call (920) 568-5244.
At this year’s Summit, participants will deepen the discussion about creating healthy communities and how to implement programs that can really promote positive change in the health behaviors in the region.
Scheduled presenters are:
The day’s agenda also includes complimentary refreshments and a chance to hear updates on activities from several local community coalitions.
“Building a Healthy Community Together” was the focus of the first Summit held in 2012.
Seventy-five participants from seven communities in Jefferson and Walworth Counties spent the day at Fort Atkinson High School networking and learning more about the epidemic of obesity and how partnering together can help change the behaviors of community members.
As the director of Fort HealthCare’s wellness-improvement initiatives, Bridget Monahan is intricately involved in helping to build health improvement strategies with area partners. She explains, “Since Fort HealthCare’s first Healthy Communities Summit in June 2012, six community coalitions have been formed as well as a steering committee in Cambridge, Jefferson, Fort Atkinson, Johnson Creek, Lake Mills, Palmyra and Whitewater.”
Fort HealthCare is working with these community-based coalitions to mobilize their assets. The key goal is to reduce obesity in adults by three percent in Jefferson County by 2016.
Monahan adds, “The expertise and guidance of the Department of Public Health as well as implementing some of the assessment tools and strategies that we’ve been working on will provide area communities with the knowledge and skills needed to help create an infrastructure that can lead to important changes in the overall health of each community. Partnerships between the communities and Fort HealthCare will maximize effectiveness and minimize duplication over time. The result will undoubtedly be one that will shift the culture in our region to one of making healthier choices, and therefore, improve the health outcomes of area residents.”
Fort HealthCare’s community health improvement activity directly supports its Mission and Vision. Fort HealthCare’s Mission is to improve the health and well-being of our community with a Vision to be the healthiest community in Wisconsin.
Fort HealthCare President and CEO, Mike Wallace, states, “We believe the goal to create Wisconsin’s Healthiest Community is an incredibly important undertaking. To continue to make
this happen, we have to educate area residents as to the benefits of becoming the healthiest community, help each community be ready to embrace and act upon health-related messages,
and help area residents see the benefits of making lifestyle improvements and having a relationship with a primary care physician. We also hope to motivate all individuals to see how their health affects the overall population.”
Data collected from Fort HealthCare’s community health assessment conducted in 2011 and early 2012 shows the obesity rate in Jefferson County is approximately 32 percent; much higher than the state’s target of 25 percent. The current overall adult obesity rate in the State of Wisconsin is 27 percent. Further research determined that obesity, diet and nutrition, access to healthcare, exercise and physical activity and preventive care were the five most important issues described by the respondents in the community. These issues were also determined to be very important to employers, school districts and community agencies.
Fort HealthCare is dedicated to helping support county-wide strategies for positive changes in our residents’ health behaviors, including their access to important healthcare services. The strategies for addressing these issues include keeping area residents active and physically fit, engaged with primary care, out of the hospital, safe in their community and well in their workplace.
Wallace notes, “At Fort HealthCare, we’re committed to greater engagement in the overall health of the community and are actively encouraging other individuals to join us. Our partnerships are the foundation for our mutual success. It’s our goal to provide information, education, programs and tools that our communities can put in place to help individuals and families enjoy good health for now and in years to come.”
For more information and to find resources that will help individuals become as healthy as can be, visit FortHealthCare.com/LetsDoThis/Communities.