County named ‘healthy community’ in state

From Local Sources

Dubois County has been named an Indiana Healthy Community by the Wellness Council of Indiana.

Indiana Healthy Communities is an evidence-based collaboration process designed to help communities focus on implementing and sustaining a culture of health and well-being to spur economic vitality.

“In order to make positive changes in the health of Hoosiers, we must move beyond reacting to Indiana’s poor health rankings,” Wellness Council of Indiana Executive Director Jennifer Pferrer said in a press release. “By evaluating at the community level and proactively looking upstream, we can make an impact at the individual level and improve health. We are pleased to recognize Dubois County for their efforts to make their community a healthier place to work, live and play.”

The county will be recognized at the upcoming Indiana Wellness Summit on Sept. 17. A local celebration is being planned, Dubois County Health Department Administrative Director Jo Ann Spaulding said.

Through the collaboration process, the wellness council helps communities assess their programs, services and infrastructure in four areas: health, economy, environment and community. Communities use data from the assessment and other sources to determine needs and then develop a Healthy Community Action Plan with goals and objectives.

There is a strong emphasis on healthy workplaces and employer involvement as the initiative uses the community health conversation to drive economic vitality. Three businesses in Dubois County have gone through the wellness council’s AchieveWELL process, which assists businesses in creating a corporate culture that encourages and supports employee health through worksite wellness initiatives.

The county’s entry into the wellness council’s program is facilitated by the Dubois County Healthy Community Coalition. The coalition consists of community stakeholders, that came together to collaborate on the comprehensive community assessment and goals to be carried out over the two-year designation cycle. The coalition includes Cairnstone Benefits Group, Kimball International, the Dubois County Visitors Center and Tourism Commission, Jasper Engines & Transmissions, Purdue Extension, Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, the Dubois County Health Department, the Dubois County Board of Commissioners and the Dubois County Community Foundation.

“I was happy to participate in the Healthy Community Initiative,” Dubois County Commissioner Nick Hostetter said. “It sends the message to residents and potential residents that we are serious about the health and wellbeing of our people. This designation will also help Dubois County to foster additional action on creating a healthier community.”

The coalition is working on the goals it set for its two-year designation. It will focus on recruiting more employers in the community to go through the AchieveWELL process, establishing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in area farmers markets and using information gathered on a community audit led by the Indiana State Department of Health to inform a new comprehensive plan for the City of Jasper.

Information about Indiana Healthy Communities program can be found at www.wellnessindiana.org.




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