An overview of health and health equity in Jefferson County – the challenges we face, progress we have made, and emerging collaborative efforts – was the focus of the Jefferson County Health Action Partnership annual meeting that was held today at the Southern Museum of Flight.
More than 140 community partners were on hand to hear Birmingham Mayor William Bell speak about, “A Healthier Birmingham Moving Forward”.
Dr. Monica Baskin from UAB presented the recently released health equity report, “Place Matters for Health in Jefferson County, Alabama,” a comprehensive analysis of the range of social, economic, and environmental conditions in the area.
The Health Action Partnership’s four priority groups presented their latest collaborative projects that aim to be a part of the solution:
• To increase active living and community use of new trails, sidewalks and bike lanes, partners are collaborating to develop neighborhood walking cards that show walking routes and key community landmarks identified by community members.
• To increase access to healthy, affordable food, partners are piloting a project in East Lake and Norwood that connects faith-based organizations around healthy eating and provides a “double bucks” incentive for Supplemental Nutrition Assessment Program (SNAP, or Food Stamp) recipients to buy fresh produce at farmers markets and stores.
• To improve child wellness, partners are developing a scalable model for afterschool and summer programs to provide healthy snacks and exercise using national wellness standards. This model will be piloted at local YMCAs, reaching over 1000 children daily, with the goal of expanding to other programs.
• To decrease second hand smoke exposure, partners are working to educate Hoover citizens on the benefits of smoke-free workplaces and public spaces and on the impact of comprehensive smoke-free policies on public health.