Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2017

HRSA grant allocation lacks firm direction

Sep 07, 2017

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News

 

While there are still many questions about what the nearly one-million dollar HRSA grant awarded to Henry County for public health can be used toward, the Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC) board agreed that they will begin by looking at gaps in patient care and create a strategic plan from there.

“If we can reach these lofty goals, there is a good vision in the end,” Healthy Communities Coordinator Kelly Carr said. “The first step is assessment.”

Carr, along with Public Health Director Patti Sallee, will be attending a conference this month to get a better idea of how the money can be used. Carr hopes for insight when she sits down with other public health officials who have worked with HRSA grants in the past.

“Honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out,” Carr said during the HHCC board meeting on Sept. 5. “I don’t have enough to have a discussion about it.”

Members of the HHCC board voiced their concern over the lack of guidelines provided to them at this point.

“We have the money, and we don’t have any idea what to do with it,” Dr. Julie Wagner said. “It is almost a million dollars and we don’t know what to do with it.”

Carr plans to put together an action team to discuss specific areas the grant can have “influence” on in the next three years. Action items will then be brought to the HHCC board for further discussion and approval.

The board kept grant money in mind when discussing goals set for Live Healthy Iowa, a program of the Iowa Sports Foundation that was created as a strategic health initiative to address the state’s growing obesity problem.

The board set a goal of lowering the obesity rate in Henry County from 35 percent to 10 percent by 2020. The inactivity rate of Henry County residents currently sits at 24 percent of people being inactive. The board set a goal of less than 10 percent of Henry County residents to be inactive by 2020.

“We may not hit 10 percent, we might not hit 10 percent ever, but it doesn’t hurt to throw it up there,” Wagner said.

The board hopes that these efforts will improve Henry County’s Live Healthy Iowa Active Index rating, which is currently 89 out of 99 counties. The Active Iowa Index is a health ranking that measures participation in healthy activities in each county. The goal for the end of 2017 is to be 35, and by 2018 to be in the top 10.

To do this, HHCC intends to maintain collaboration with other wellness organizations and increase participation in healthy activities such as the Healthy Halloween Community Walk on Oct. 23.

The next HHCC board meeting will be on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. in the HCHC Health Education Center.

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