“They all want to be involved…. They are stakeholders,” said Ford. The coalitions have identified problems and causes.
“It’s been eye-opening. It’s given us a reason to come together,” said Kellie Kelley, public information officer at the health department.
She cited a number of factors that have contributed to the worsening health behaviors and outcomes including unstable economy, rural living, poor access to affordable, healthy food, ingrained cultural and social attitudes, and poor mental health.
Now, the groups will work with the Indiana State Department of Health to develop a strategic plan using evidence-based practices from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Members are set to get training in July. In the meantime, there are some initiatives already in place to help people combat poor health behaviors, but in the end, the initiative has to come from the individual.
“People have to want to change,” said Ford. He said he’s looking forward to having further communications with residents. He also encourages folks to follow helpful health department posts on Facebook and Twitter.
Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.