The Health Action Partnership work in Jefferson and Walker counties continued to expand in 2016, with dozens of partners working together in areas ranging from increasing public recreational spaces to improving mental health services. As organizations prepare to continue their work in 2017, and as new partners join the effort in the new year, it seems like a good time to provide an overview of the work that was accomplished in the past twelve months. Below are just a few highlights, with each item representing a collaborative effort involving multiple partners.
In Walker County, the Livable Communities priority group leveraged over $65,000 in funds and in-kind services to develop an access point at Walston Bridge Road along Blackwater Creek, an Alabama Scenic River Trail-designated waterway.
The Healthy People priority group partners were awarded a three-year $450,000 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grant to contract with YMCA of Greater Birmingham to provide after school and summer program services to 100 k-8 students enrolled at Oakman Middle School. The first day of the program was Monday, October 3rd and a healthy meal is provided daily.
The group also engaged over 200 rural residents at three churches to provide health services, such as blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, health perception survey, insurance information and enrollment assistance.
In Jefferson County, the Advancing Health Equity priority group developed multiple resources, including a one-hour introductory presentation that provides some local and national statistics, as well as a brief video, a website (healthequityal.org), and a Guiding Principles document that can inform the work of local partners interested in working to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to live a healthy life. In 2016, information was shared with over 200 individuals representing dozens of organizations within Jefferson County.
The Built Environment, Transportation and Safety priority group created an index that highlights multiple health factors, and group members are currently working with staff within the City of Birmingham to include the index in the prioritization process for infrastructure decisions to ensure that all areas receive the investment they need to support a healthy living environment.
The Optimizing Healthcare Access priority group began a geographically-focused pilot project that will engage many different partners working to improve hypertension rates within a specific ZIP code in order to show the measurable improvements that can occur through aligning resources.
The Promoting Healthy Lifestyles priority group helped to launch the Let’s Move Outside initiative, which is designed to provide opportunities for children and their families to work, serve, learn and play at local parks, while also working with municipalities to improve the conditions of green space throughout the region.
The Improving Mental Health priority group began work to assess school-based mental health services in the region and develop strategies for expanding school-based services locally to ensure that children have access to high-quality, convenient resources.
Improving the health of residents across the Bold Goals’ service area involves many different organizations and individuals working together. As we work to ensure that Jefferson, Walker, Blount, St. Clair and Shelby Counties are all ranking in the top 10 healthiest counties by 2025, we need your help.
To learn more about the initiative, or to get involved in the work please email us at HealthActionPartnership@uwca.org