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Healthiest Cities and Counties Community Spotlight Series: Franklin County, Ohio

Tags: Health

Health Works Franklin County is working to integrate community safety, housing and economic development, environmental sustainability and human services systems into the public health system.

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Franklin County, Ohio: Health Works Franklin County

What are some of the greatest health challenges that the members in your community face?

Based on our current community health assessment, we have identified four health priorities/challenges in our community: chronic disease, mental health and addiction, access to overall healthcare and maternal and infant health. Chronic disease includes heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Mental Health and Addiction includes drug addiction (e.g. opiate abuse) and tobacco. Access to Care includes dental, primary care and behavioral health. Maternal and Infant health includes infant mortality, low birth weight babies and pre-term births.

What are some of the health initiatives, specifically related to the Challenge's work, that are taking place in your community?

Health Works Franklin County has connected with several health initiatives in our community. Celebrate One is a city/county collaborative that addresses infant mortality with a focus on safe sleep and the social determinants of health that pregnant women in our community face. Other health initiatives include the Franklin County Chronic Disease Advisory Board, which focuses on physical activity, nutrition and tobacco. The Tobacco Free Collaborative includes an emphasis on youth prevention, cessation services and infant mortality. The Opiate Action Plan that includes strategies related to prevention, risk reduction, law enforcement and treatment. We have also connected with initiatives that address poverty, economic development, environmental and housing issues.

Can you share either a personal story or an observation that might help illustrate the impact this initiative and/or the Challenge has had on you/your community?

Health Works Franklin County (HWFC) has given us an opportunity to bring dozens of stakeholders together from across the county including healthcare, nonprofit, government and academia. In our conversations about social determinants, a personal story was shared by a veteran, who touched on the idea of hope. This individual described the need to assist other veterans who are returning home and are in need of services that address the social determinants of health. The point was made that as HWFC addresses social determinants of health such as housing, food security and employment, a veteran's ability to access those resources are a source of hope for them. Without hope, their resiliency and ability to improve their lives is jeopardized, which leads to poor health outcomes.

Have you experienced any major successes or challenges so far with this initiative? If so, can you elaborate?

The efforts of Health Works Franklin County (HWFC) have now merged with our community health assessment and community health improvement plan. As we followed our original model of engagement focused on social determinants of health, we simultaneously engaged in community forums for our community health assessment. Those forums identified social determinants of health as cross-cutting factors for the four identified priorities. This has informed and directed our community health improvement plan, which will serve as the strategic plan for Priority #2 of HWFC.

Can you describe the progress of your project? What has been accomplished?

Health Works Franklin County has focused on the following four priorities:

  • Model policy of work: Our progress on this work has been to connect with health, public health and social service agencies to inform model policies for specific topics of community interest.
  • Strategic planning: Health Works Franklin County has had the most success on this effort. The development of the Community Health Assessment led to the identification of four priorities, which will inform the Community Health Improvement Plan and HWFC Strategic Plan.
  • Network of Care (NOC): The NOC has been expanded and is now the home site for 38 organizations that are members of HWFC, where we host community assessments, data and information related to the four Healthiest Cities and Counties priorities.
  • Administrative Review: This final priority will be the focus for the remainder of the challenge period.

What does it mean to be part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge?

This challenge has provided Franklin County with the opportunity to create a network of diverse representatives of agencies that serve communities across the county. This coalition has one of the largest health, public health, governmental, nonprofit, academia and social service members that are actively engaged in helping achieve the goals of Health Works Franklin County and the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge.

Adapted from the original post on the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge Learning Network. For more information on this and other Healthiest Cities and County Challenge Projects, visit the Challenge website at www.healthiestcities.org.

About Sofia Ferber (Full Bio)

Health Associate

Sofia joined NACo in 2018 from the Office of Congressman Delaney (MD-06) working on constituent services and policy related work. While on the Hill she was involved in the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association (CHSA) and the Women’s Congressional Staff Association (WCSA).

Counties across the nation have accepted the challenge to make measurable changes in their community  as Finalists in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. This County Spotlight Series highlights county Challenge teams’ progress and achievements.

Click here to view the full series.

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