Written by Andrew Whitacre, NACo Health Associate.
Salt Lake County Township Executive Director Patrick Leary and Wasatch Front Regional Council Deputy Director Ted Knowlton engage in a discussion in the “Livable Communities and You” breakout session.
in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and
the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) is
conducting community dialogues in six counties across the country. The NACo
Community Dialogue to Improve County Health sessions are intended to assist
counties in assessing, planning and strategizing current efforts toward
coordinating health initiatives to improve the overall health of residents in
these counties. These sessions are a part of NACo’s Elected County Officials’
Guide to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps project,
which aims to bring together public and private partners to share innovative
ideas and strategize about how to resolve various challenges counties face. The
third session of the series, titled Building Healthy Communities: Salt Lake
County’s Future, was held in Salt Lake County, Utah on May 29th.
Salt Lake County Community Dialogue focused on addressing the social
determinants of health (e.g. education, income, employment, and housing) and
how incorporating the collective impact model can improve health in the county.
The collective impact model aims at creating large-scale social change by
coordinating efforts across organizations. With over 150 participants, Salt
Lake County brought together organizations and government agencies from many
sectors, including education, regional and urban planning, finance, technology,
human services, healthcare, environment (clean air and water), behavioral
health, and others.
Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams began the Community Dialogue by discussing his
goal to help make the county the healthiest in America through his Future We
Choose initiative, which targets achieving collective goals like an improved
economy, better educational opportunities and high quality services through
collaboration, innovation and transformation throughout the county . He noted
that although the county has one of the lowest adult smoking and unemployment
rates, there are many health factors that the county needs to collectively
address to improve the health of the community, including rates of sexually
transmitted infections and children in poverty.
Len Novilla, Associate Professor in the Department of Health Science at Brigham
Young University, provided the keynote address that focused on the impact of
social determinants of health on length of life. She discussed how social
determinants of health impact health outcomes in Salt Lake County with a focus
on the nexus between education and life expectancy. She explained what healthy
communities are and how the collective impact model or “health in all policies”
can help improve community health.
Jerome, Director of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Action
Center, gave an overview of the County Health Rankings model and the
tools made available through the Roadmaps Action Center. Gary Edwards,
Executive Director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, provided
participants with a brief discussion of county specific County Health
Rankings data for Salt Lake County, including comparisons to other Utah
counties and U.S. top county performers of similar size (counties in the top 10
the general session portion of the Community Dialogue, participants engaged in
three separate breakout sections. Six different breakout sessions were
available for participants to choose from, which allowed each participant to
attend three sessions of their choice. Breakout sessions included panels of
local experts that discussed: A Healthy Bottom Line (role of jobs and wages in
health); Get Schooled (how supporting children from early development through
job readiness leads to better health outcomes); The Air We See? (improving air
quality); The 3-4-50 what? (evidence-based interventions that assist in
changing behaviors and preventing chronic disease); Mind the Matter (impact of
childhood trauma on adult health and communities); and Livable Communities and
You (what does a livable community look like). Participants engaged in
interactive conversations with their peers from other sectors in the community
and with experts in these respective fields.
Community Dialogue was wrapped up with a presentation by Megan Joseph from the
United Way of Santa Cruz County, CA on the collective impact model. She
demonstrated how Santa Cruz County was able to utilize collective impact to engage
community leaders from a variety of sectors to address important health issues
in the county. For their work, Santa Cruz County received an RWJF Culture of
Health Prize in 2013.
Bays, Director of the Salt Lake County Human Services Department, urged
participants to join one of Salt Lake County’s Healthy Communities groups. The
Healthy Communities groups are located throughout the county and help to
identify and address local community issues that impact health. Each of the
groups determines their health priorities and implements programs to improve
the health of their communities. The Salt Lake County Health Department has
staff that participates as non-voting members of each Healthy Community group
and the county provides support for infrastructure and health expertise. There
are currently 8 Healthy Communities in the county, including Draper, Herriman,
Magna, Riverton, Sandy, South Jordan, Taylorsville, and West Jordan.
Click here for
more information on Salt Lake County Healthy Communities.
County, N.C. will hold the next Community Dialogue on September 4th.
For more information on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, listen to the NACo podcast or visit countyhealthrankings.org.
At NACo’s 79th Annual Conference: County Solutions and Ideas Marketplace in New Orleans Parish, La., County Solutions and Innovation (CSI) will hold an interactive workshop Sunday, July 13 from 2:30-4:00pm that explores what counties can do and are doing to look beyond clinical services and access to care to improve the health of their communities. The workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to share best practices and network with other counties on this important topic. Click to register.
To learn more about the Community Dialogues to Improve County Health and NACo’s Elected County Officials’ Guide to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, please contact Andrew Whitacre, Health Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.942.4215.