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2017 Health Summit recognizes organizations and communities - Chatham Star Tribune: News

2017 Health Summit recognizes organizations and communities

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Posted: Thursday, October 19, 2017 4:16 pm

In a partnership with the Health Collaborative in Danville, Averett University played host to the third annual 2017 Health Summit on Thursday, Oct. 12. According to the Health Collaborative, each fall it hosts the annual Health Summit. These regional gatherings provide an opportunity to celebrate recent accomplishments, raise awareness around health barriers and share best practices towards addressing those challenges.

Through keynote speakers, breakout sessions and networking opportunities, the Health Summit supports the community in brainstorming ideas, providing feedback on next steps and establishing regional partnerships for positive and sustainable change.

The Summit featured a full day of speakers, sessions, awards, and addressed and providing solutions to the Dan River region’s health disparities including obesity and chronic disease in low-income areas across the region.

“It’s a way to bring together not just member of the collaborative, but the whole community,” Averett Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness Executive Director Alexis Ehrhardt said. “We update them on the projects and initiatives that are happening within the collaborative and engage their participation in the future.”

This initiative is a part of the Dan River Region’s (Danville and Pittsylvania County and Caswell County, N.C.) participation in a national health competition, the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge.

The Health Collaborative was one of 50 organizations selected to participate in the Challenge, a national partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of counties (NAC0) that empowers small to mid-size cities and counties to create a positive health impact.

“It’s an opportunity for people to hear about what’s happening and then plug in where it’s appropriate,” Ehrhardt said. “We heard in the speed sessions about the young agricultural entrepreneurial program, we heard about the thrive challenge that’s going on, so this is an opportunity for attendees to ask how to take those concepts back to their organization to make the community a healthier place.”

According the Health Collaborative, there are action teams to tackle four different health areas in Danville including healthy eating, active living, access to healthcare and crosscutting approaches. The goal is to create a holistic approach for removing barriers to achieving health equity for all. The Collaborative has drafted a 10-year plan to improve health equity, social determinants and health impact with the Dan River region.

“We’ve come together to learn from each other,” Health Collaborative Project Manager, Elyse Jardine said. “We also want to celebrate what we’ve accomplished in the past year. The THRIVE! Awards recognize organizations and communities that have helped the region through projects and initiatives to become a healthier place to live.”

THRIVE! celebrates the success of the organizations and individuals who have been improving our community health. The first annual THRIVE! Awards were given in honor of Laurie Moran, founding convener and coordinating committee member of The Health Collaborative. Her spirited passion and longstanding commitment to building a vibrant, healthier and more resilient Dan River Region, provided inspiration, strategic guidance and an inclusive leadership framework to The Health Collaborative.

While all participating organizations and community groups were celebrated, six THRIVE! Awards were presented to those who were considered by the Health Collaborative to be going above and beyond to make the healthy choice the easy choice in the places where we live, learn, work, play, pray, and age. These awards include $500 in THRIVE! funds to continue impacting health in the region.

“The importance of the Health Collaborative is really that we’re working together for the first time to address health issues at their root cause,” Jardine said. “It’s not just about weight or smoking, it’s looking at what impacts does poverty have and how our access to education and physical activity opportunities impacts health. We’re working together and leveraging resources in an innovative way for the first time in order to make long lasting sustainable changes.”

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