Locals meet to discuss community health

Submitted photoAttendees and panelists from last week's forum on community health with the University of Iowa Public Health Department.

An effort to improve the county's health includes local businesses which met last week with individuals from the University of Iowa Public Health Department.

The department met with a small group on May 7 from the area, which included business leaders, public health professionals, educators, health care professionals and local citizens. The discussion centered around improving nutrition and physical activity for children and for adults in the workplace.

Among the panel of speakers was Vicki Miene, Interim Director of the Institute of Public Health Research and Policy as well as the Director of the Iowa Healthy Life stars program, which is a child obesity prevention program which focuses on educating children to stay active, eat healthy and set goals.

Joining Miene on the panel was Diane Rohlman, Associate Professor of Occupational & Environmental Health at the UI College as well as the Director of the Healthier Workforce Center; Kris Laurson, Administrator of Appanoose County Public Health; Molly Revers, CEO and Membership Director at the Rathbun Lake Area YMCA; and Taren Whisler, RN, Employee Health and Health Promotions Manager at MercyOne Centerville Medical Center as well as President of the Appanoose County Wellness Coalition.

The panel spoke about the different ways they are trying to improve health and wellness in Appanoose County. Some of the topics discussed were initiating the Healthy Lifestars Program by partnering with the schools and the YMCA as an after school program or summer program, mental health education in the schools-educating the staff as well as the students on mental health, bringing more healthy activities to the area for children and adults and making our workplaces healthier for adults.

In 2015, the University of Iowa College of Public Health initiated the Business Leadership Network Community Grant Project to support projects, programs, and activities that build collaboration and support community well-being.

“We’re excited to support these locally initiated projects to improve community health,” says Edith Parker, dean of the College of Public Health. “The grant program is one way the college is partnering with communities and business leaders across the state to increase the well-being of Iowans.

Among the attendees were State Representative Holly Brink and State Senator Ken Rozenboom.

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