Oakland County Launches Health Improvement Plan

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Oakland County has launched a health improvement plan that will work with an array of community partners to improve the wellness of residents.

The county’s Community Health Improvement Plan, focuses on five-health issues: healthy living, active living, built environment, access to care, and data and informatics.

Four action groups have been established to achieve each issue’s goals and suggested actions, which include identifying opportunities to increase farmer’s market locations, increasing the number of businesses that sponsor or fund healthy activities, engaging older adults in community planning, promoting mental health first aid training, and more.

“(The Plan) is meant to be a new way of approaching complex health issues in the community and making a difference in time,” says Kathleen Forzley, health officer and manager for Oakland County. “These aren’t things that happen over time — they’re long-term goals, but I’m sure it will reflect steady progress along the way.”

The county is currently seeking partnerships with local organizations, businesses, and agencies that are interested in being involved in the plan and assisting with the implementation of short-term, mid-term, and long-term health actions.

“Imagine what the results will be when we all come together to improve the health of our employees, our residents, and our families,” says Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “It will be a game changer.”

The plan was developed from a countywide community health assessment conducted by Energizing Connections for Healthier Oakland (ECHO) throughout 2015.

Oakland County created the plan by surveying residents about their health behaviors and quality of life. The effort also examined data and information on health resource availability, behavioral risk factors, maternal and child health, environmental health, and more.

Forzley says the plan’s action groups will begin working with community partners this summer, and another community health assessment will be held in a couple of years to monitor the progress of the plan. 

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