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Health Collaborative awarded for innovative solutions - Chatham Star Tribune: News

Health Collaborative awarded for innovative solutions

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Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 9:34 am

The Health Collaborative was recognized by the Aetna Foundation on Thursday for their progress in addressing local social determinants of health. The Collaborative has developed creative partnerships throughout the community, as well as innovative solutions to the pressing health issues facing the Dan River Region.

According to a press release, the Collaborative was selected to receive $25,000 as part of the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge Spotlight Award. The award is part of the challenge and was an initiative launched in 2016 by the Aetna Foundation, along with the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties, empowering 50 small-to-midsize cities and counties to implement innovative solutions for their local public health issues.

At an event held at Cottontail in downtown Danville, representatives from the Health Collaborative held an event that was open to the public. At this event, the Collaborative was recognized with an award and additional funding from the Aetna Foundation, and program leaders will provide updates on last year’s achievements within the community.

“By working collectively, we can better pull our resources, align efforts and create initiatives that can create community change that we develop for multiple generations to come,” Collaborative project manager Elyse Jardine said. “It’s through these long term health impacts that we can really improve the health of our region.”

The Collaborative works across Danville, Pittsylvania County and Caswell County, N.C. to improve health outcomes of residents. The Collaborative focuses on creating environments that make the healthy choice the easy choice where people live, learn, work and play.

The four main goal areas include active living, healthy eating, access to healthcare and creating healthy spaces. The Collaborative recognizes that a healthy population is vital to ensuring social, economic and physical vitality.

“I congratulate the Dan River Region Health Collaborative,” Aetna Account Executive Marcus Cromwell said. “We want to recognize and honor their efforts.”

Cromwell said the City received $10,000 just for accepting the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge, and now with the $25,000 received for the Spotlight Award, has received a total of $35,000.

“I want to say thank you to every organization, all the individuals and all the entities because standing here today and receiving this award wouldn’t be possible without all the people who have supported us,” Danville Parks and Recreation Division Director of Community Recreation Jason Bookheimer said. “The challenge has provided the Health Collaborative with tools, resources, technical assistance and funding, which has allowed us to be more efficient in improving the health in our region.”

For the challenge, the first thing the Collaborative committed to was creating walkable and bike friendly communities by adopting complete streets policies and walkability plans. The second thing the Collaborative committed to was building a stronger local food system by empowering youth to become change agents for healthy behaviors in their own neighborhoods and communities. The third thing the Collaborative committed to was improving access to local, fresh, and healthy food by working with the Community Health Worker Project and other clinical partners, The fourth thing the collaborative committed to was creating healthy environments at schools, worksites, faith communities and out of school time.

“The Health Collaborative members worked tirelessly over the years to continue their shared skills, talents and passions,” Bookheimer said. “I want to thank the community members who participated in the Health Collaborative. They shared their extremely valuable thoughts, ideas and perspectives. They showed us that every day that this is a place of opportunity.”

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