After decades of economic stagnation in Klamath County, Oregon—a region of about 66,000 people—the Healthy Klamath Coalition came together in 2012 to create a healthier community. Since then, the county has seen an increase in graduation rates and revitalization in parts of their urban center and has taken steps to create more jobs and stronger networks of interconnected social, behavioral and healthcare services.
On August 13th, we discussed the connection between economic development and health equity with our guests from Klamath County, a 2018 winner of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. Jennifer Little and Erin Schulten from the Klamath County Public Health Department provided an introduction to their role in Klamath County’s economic development activities and described how those efforts have had an impact on health factors like food insecurity, access to exercise opportunities and unemployment. Klamath County’s approach, which focused on resident engagement and multi-sector collaboration, will provide insights for rural and urban communities alike!