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On Day Two, participants convened in geographically-based groups to discuss possible strategies to achieve better outcomes in the areas of emphasis. These discussions generated some powerful ideas on how to improve health status in communities.
What has happened since the Summit?
Georgia’s movement toward becoming a safer and healthier state has just begun. Since the Summit in November, a smaller group convened to review the input of the 800+ person group and plan next steps in the process. Also, the Division of Public Health has been focusing internally on aligning our resources to better support this important change effort.
The state, local, and county public health agencies, businesses, education and non-profit organizations are already working together to improve health through various programs. Stories shared at the Summit reflect the enthusiasm and energy being put into improving health status.
A number of community activities have taken place following the Summit. As one example, the Northeast Health District (10 counties in the Athens area) was featured in the local newspaper for bringing together various partners to improve health in their region. Their creative approaches to address cardiovascular disease by purchasing blood-pressure devices to put in area barbershops, beauty parlors and churches were highlighted. (You can find the story at http://onlineathens.com/stories/012206/news_2006012217.shtml).
The Northwest Health District (10 counties in the Rome area) is using the information and momentum from the Summit to focus on improving health in their area. They took the actions proposed in the district break-out groups and found two main areas of interest: (1) promoting healthy lifestyles in children through partnerships with education; and (2) increasing access to primary care. They are focusing on developing expertise in these areas and are sharing key information with each of the ten Boards of Health and District and County staff. They reported “some of the most energetic discussions in a long time have happened following these presentations at Board meetings.”
While there are too many examples of progress to enumerate them all, we will compile them and make these accomplishments available to you on the Healthy Georgia Summit web site in the coming weeks.
What are the next steps?
Given the complexity of health and the variety of factors that contribute to health status, the development of plans to improve health will need to come from multiple sources: community, county, district, region and state. Your continued partnership will be critical to improving the health of Georgians.
Our immediate plans to continue this momentum include:
Since the Summit, many people have contacted us to offer their support. We appreciate this extension of support and will enlist your involvement as we move along the journey
What can you do?
Here are just a few ideas of actions you can take to contribute to improving health in Georgia.
Who should you contact with ideas or questions?
We value and appreciate your input. We are developing the ability to gather your ideas on-line. In the meantime, please feel free to send a note to Sonia Alvarez-Robinson, Director of Planning and Strategic Development, a new member of our leadership team and our primary point of contact for Summit follow-up activities. She can be reached at email@example.com.
We look forward to working with you to achieve a safer and healthier Georgia!
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