Community Stories

Health improvement efforts from around the country

filtered by "Policy"

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Never Giving Up: Addressing Drug Addiction in Scott County, Indiana

What would you do if the county you’d lived in and loved for many decades was ranked the least healthy county in your state for three years running? What if just days after this year’s Rankings release Reuter News Service began investigating why your county has the highest rate of prescription drug deaths in a six county area? This is the situation faced by the people of Scott County, Indiana. It would be understandable if their response was to give up in frustration, but that’s far from the reality.

Working Together Creatively to Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice

Twenty years ago George Sedlacek, the Director of Community Health in Marquette County, MI, was lambasted in the local news as a “health Nazi.” Now retired but still active as a community leader, he’s being hailed as a “health hero.” What accounts for the transformation? Sedlacek will tell you he didn’t change; the community’s culture changed.

In San Bernardino, CA, County Health Department Takes Lead to Improve Area’s Poor Health Ranking

The 2011 County Health Rankings ranked San Bernardino County—which spans more than 20,000 square miles and a population of more than 2 million—50th out of 56 California counties in health factors like physical environment, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care. The city of San Bernardino alone faces significant public health challenges, with a lower life expectancy, a higher homicide rate, and fewer parks and healthy food options than the rest of the state.

Fostering a Culture of Health and Wellness in Hernando, Miss.

The 2011 County Health Rankings classified Desoto County as the healthiest county in Mississippi for health outcomes and the fifth-healthiest county for health factors, with lower unemployment rates, higher education rates and greater access to healthy food compared to the rest of the state.

PedNet Coalition Works to Improve Health Through Better Public Transit

Home to the University of Missouri, Columbia is considered one of the state’s most livable cities, with a number of educational, economic and cultural opportunities available. It is also the seat of Boone County, which ranked well according to the 2011 County Health Rankings —10th out of 114 counties in Missouri for health outcomes and 2nd for health factors.

Nashville Eyes Economic Benefits of Healthy Communities

In Davidson County, Mayor Karl Dean and public health officials are moving forward to make Nashville a healthier, more livable city by improving opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. Initiatives have ranged from transforming food options in schools and child care centers, to investing in sidewalks, parks, greenways, and a bike share program. A workplace wellness challenge is next on the list, along with expanding efforts to get healthy, fresh foods into neighborhood corner stores in Nashville’s food deserts.

Rockingham County, North Carolina Establishes Task Force to Identify the Root Causes of Its Poor Health Rankings, Develops Recommendations

Rockingham County, dubbed as North Carolina’s North Star, is nestled at the tip of the Northern Piedmont Triad region and cradled by the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Though Rockingham County is mostly rural (county size – 572 square miles with a population of approximately 93,063), its communities still offer small-town living balanced with 21st century amenities.

Eating Smart and Moving More in Columbus County, North Carolina

A simple message has taken center stage in Columbus County, North Carolina: “Eat smart. Move more.” It’s shared in schools, churches and county offices. Even a call to the Columbus County Health Department meets with a recording of Health Director Kimberly Smith reminding residents to take a brisk 30-minute walk every day and to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Learn From Other Communities in Action

See how communities are using policies, programs, and system changes to create healthier places to live, learn, work, and play.

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