Healthy Times

LFCHD Employee Newsletter

Community partners rally to improve Lexington’s health

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Representatives from various local organizations, including staff from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, gathered Friday, June 21, at Bryan Station High School to work on Lexington’s Community Health Improvement Plan. The group discussed past successes, ways to improve future efforts and how they can work together to address issues surrounding obesity, unsafe neighborhoods and unemployment.

To learn more about the plan, and the June 21 meeting, check out features from SurfKy.com News and the Herald-Leader.

The following is a recap from the event provided to participants:

The Lexington Community gathered for 2nd annual Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) meeting on June 21, 2013, to hear about progress, to celebrate the successes and identify meaningful next steps. The nearly 100 participants represented a broad base of local businesses, hospitals, service agencies, universities, the school system, government and non-government agencies, policy makers, insurance companies and LFUCG fire and police agencies. Similar groups reviewed the community assessment documents and determined that Lexington’s health would be significantly improved if the community would focus on activity to reduce obesity, increase safe neighborhoods and reduce unemployment.

Staff presented information on activity to date and asked those assembled to identify activity that needed to be strengthened and to identify barriers and submit ideas on how to deal with them. At the end of the day the group identified the following strengths and weaknesses and made recommendations for further action.

Strengths:
• Strong data gathering method and results of community survey—the information was collected and analyzed in a manner that generates trust in the findings.
• Reasonable confirmation of findings—The Focus groups in various neighborhoods that gathered the qualitative data increases confidence in the findings.
• Valid choice of goals and objectives: Reducing unemployment has many positive benefits beyond just the health area—it is a good choice.

Weaknesses:
• Loss of continuity and momentum: The long time interval between meetings breaks the continuity of thought and loses important momentum.
• Expectations of team leadership are not clearly defined and meetings need more focus
• Communication between and among community partners does not clearly link to the three overarching objectives
• Need additional community partners at the table whose backgrounds and interests fit the three objectives
• Most people don’t know about the CHIP.
Recommendations for moving forward:
• Rebrand CHIP—give it a name that resonates with the purpose, is easily recognizable, and that attracts public interest
• Share information from other needs assessments. Members of the group know of information that is not currently available
• Expand the unemployment team—add people who are familiar with the issue—get help from people who recruit, place, and hire folks so that team has better information on the reality of the situation
• Continue to seek, report and celebrate small wins with the large group
• Review and report updated measurable objectives and strategies to the group regularly
• Conduct Action Team Meetings more frequently what do they want the action teams to do?
• Create communication network to communicate effectively by doing what was recommended?
• Have Action Teams review, update and report measurable objectives for the group.

Obesity Action Team
The group redefined and expanded the group’s purpose to include;
• creating a resource directory for physical activity programs by cost, accessibility, age, and activity level
• collaborate with TWEENS Coalition and Lexington HEALS institute to collaborate for this online directory
• Assure that we reach all backgrounds in Lexington to promote physical activity.

Moving forward, the obesity action team will:
• meet more often,
• consider creation of subgroups for different initiatives,
• create a communication network for members to communicate,
• invite other employers in the community to obesity action team meetings,
• rebrand name for their team, and
• rewrite and update objectives of this group.

Safe Neighborhood Action Team
The safe neighborhood action team members celebrated:
• the ten percent increase in the weight of discarded medicines through the ‘med-toss’ program
• increasing physician enrollment in the KASPER program to 100% and
• Creating two permanent ‘med-toss ‘locations in Lexington.
Moving forward the safe neighborhoods team:
• Identified the need to educate the public about the med-toss program by promoting this program through pharmacies, the coroner, senior citizen groups, and hospice.
• Continue to work with appropriate groups on the increase in heroin use and drug overdose deaths that have accompanied the successful decrease in prescription drug abuse. It was noted that illegal drug use is becoming a larger problem in our community.
• Increase neighborhood engagement to create safe communities by involving new neighborhood associations, increasing and strengthening neighborhood association participation, increased reporting of crimes, and looking at streetscapes.

Unemployment Action Team
The group:
• reviewed the measurable objectives
• decided the group needs to clarify data about high school graduation and college graduation rate for Fayette County
• Recommended including businesses, faith-based groups, staffing agencies, big employers, employment training agencies, economic development office within Commerce Lexington in this action team.

This group surpassed the significant involvement of previous groups because there were more people representing more public and private stakeholders, expressing thoughtful opinions and offering to support the process. Those who have been involved from the beginning commented on the high level of energy and the willingness to become more involved. Staff noted the need to assure a more appropriate facility and everyone noted the need to keep the process moving forward.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is preparing a staffing pattern that lends itself to ongoing maintenance of effort at one level and expanded effort for such things as meeting planning. We use this approach for emergency responses and it works well since both community partners and staff are involved at appropriate levels.

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