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Healthiest Cities and Counties Community Spotlight Series: Wichita Falls, Texas

Tags: Health

Wichita County is working to implement a coordinated school health program, a worksite wellness initiative, and reduce secondhand smoke exposure to children in vehicles.

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    Healthiest Cities and Counties Community Spotlight Series: Wichita Falls, Texas

    Wichita Falls, Texas: Wichita County Heathy Cities & Counties Project

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

    According to our Community Health Improvement Plan, 2016-2018, high obesity and tobacco use rates, physical inactivity, and a high proportion of children living in poverty are some of the factors negatively affecting our community's health.

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

    Regarding the worksite wellness initiative, we are working with a top-5 employer to create a sustainable wellness program that will increase employee health and lower health insurance cost. The program encourages and empowers employees to take positive steps toward improving their overall wellness. The holistic approach includes physical activity, nutrition, healthcare, mental and financial health. For the Coordinated School Health Program, we are working with community partners to include local police, healthcare, a local University, the area Food Bank, business leaders and fitness facilities. Using the CDC's School Health Index, we identified realistic ways to improve a participating elementary school environment to facilitate better academic and fitness scores. To date, we have installed five donated commercial-grade treadmills for staff wellness and implemented a School-Based Clinic that will also provide services for a health disparate community. Finally, we worked closely with a local high school and the Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition to create an awareness campaign about the dangers of second-hand smoke exposure in confined spaces. The campaign has been heavily promoted on social media, during tobacco-related events such as the Great American Smoke Out and by coalition partners.
     

    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?

    During our first School Health Index (SHI) meeting to determine school needs and prioritize initiatives, the CEO of the local Federally Qualified Health Center was so appalled by the conditions of the school and the community it served that he requested a meeting with the principal and tour of the school. After the tour, the CEO told the principal he had been trying to find a suitable location for a School-Based Clinic (SBC) for the past several months. He determined this school and community would benefit from such a clinic and started the process to make it a reality. The principal and staff were overjoyed and expressed their thanks to the members of the coalition for initiating the project. We received official word in late November, 2016, that the School-Based Clinic was approved by the school board.

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

    Our major success thus far has been receiving approval to establish a School-Based Clinic as part of our Coordinated School Health Program project. This would not have been possible without the active participation of multiple community partners. Everyone came together to complete a very lengthy school assessment, identify issues, formulate solutions and implement a corrective plan of action. As a result, the school staff has a on-site fitness facility and wellness program with free donated equipment and a School Board approved School-Based Clinic that will serve as a model for other school within the community.
     

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

    Working with local stakeholders and coalition partners, we have established a worksite wellness program in a top-5 employer, heavily promoted the dangers of second hand smoke in confined spaces at schools, businesses and through media outlets, and established a School-Based Clinic as part of our Coordinated School Health Program.

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

    It is an honor to be part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. This initiative has provided a platform for us to network with other communities across the country and make improvements to the health and well being of our citizens. Additionally, it has helped us improve relationships among multiple sectors of the community and create new partnerships. We are grateful to be a part of such a great program.

    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.

    Wichita Falls, Texas: Wichita County Heathy Cities & Counties Project
    2018-04-26
    Blog
    2018-05-10

Wichita Falls, Texas: Wichita County Heathy Cities & Counties Project

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

According to our Community Health Improvement Plan, 2016-2018, high obesity and tobacco use rates, physical inactivity, and a high proportion of children living in poverty are some of the factors negatively affecting our community's health.

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

Regarding the worksite wellness initiative, we are working with a top-5 employer to create a sustainable wellness program that will increase employee health and lower health insurance cost. The program encourages and empowers employees to take positive steps toward improving their overall wellness. The holistic approach includes physical activity, nutrition, healthcare, mental and financial health. For the Coordinated School Health Program, we are working with community partners to include local police, healthcare, a local University, the area Food Bank, business leaders and fitness facilities. Using the CDC's School Health Index, we identified realistic ways to improve a participating elementary school environment to facilitate better academic and fitness scores. To date, we have installed five donated commercial-grade treadmills for staff wellness and implemented a School-Based Clinic that will also provide services for a health disparate community. Finally, we worked closely with a local high school and the Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition to create an awareness campaign about the dangers of second-hand smoke exposure in confined spaces. The campaign has been heavily promoted on social media, during tobacco-related events such as the Great American Smoke Out and by coalition partners.
 

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?

During our first School Health Index (SHI) meeting to determine school needs and prioritize initiatives, the CEO of the local Federally Qualified Health Center was so appalled by the conditions of the school and the community it served that he requested a meeting with the principal and tour of the school. After the tour, the CEO told the principal he had been trying to find a suitable location for a School-Based Clinic (SBC) for the past several months. He determined this school and community would benefit from such a clinic and started the process to make it a reality. The principal and staff were overjoyed and expressed their thanks to the members of the coalition for initiating the project. We received official word in late November, 2016, that the School-Based Clinic was approved by the school board.

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

Our major success thus far has been receiving approval to establish a School-Based Clinic as part of our Coordinated School Health Program project. This would not have been possible without the active participation of multiple community partners. Everyone came together to complete a very lengthy school assessment, identify issues, formulate solutions and implement a corrective plan of action. As a result, the school staff has a on-site fitness facility and wellness program with free donated equipment and a School Board approved School-Based Clinic that will serve as a model for other school within the community.
 

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

Working with local stakeholders and coalition partners, we have established a worksite wellness program in a top-5 employer, heavily promoted the dangers of second hand smoke in confined spaces at schools, businesses and through media outlets, and established a School-Based Clinic as part of our Coordinated School Health Program.

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

It is an honor to be part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. This initiative has provided a platform for us to network with other communities across the country and make improvements to the health and well being of our citizens. Additionally, it has helped us improve relationships among multiple sectors of the community and create new partnerships. We are grateful to be a part of such a great program.

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.

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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