Oakland County to Develop Comprehensive Health Strategy

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Oakland County is taking on its most comprehensive health improvement initiative for residents as it launches a new program Monday, says Kathleen Forzley, manager and health officer of the county’s health division.

Called Energizing Connections for a Healthier Oakland, the effort will partner with community partners to assess health, align collaborative efforts, and expand successful practices to better address public health needs.

“(In the past), we’ve taken a look at reports that come through state and federal programs, and we’ve also done our own surveys,” Forzley says. “But this time, we’re pulling in community partners to help gather information and include their perspectives so that we can see the comprehensive picture.”

Fozley says the more people and organizations the initiative can involve, the better. “A healthier Oakland County means a lower absentee rate and a healthier workforce that doesn’t require as much health care as they would (otherwise).”

Wilson Partners in Troy and Total Management Solutions in Lake Orion are assisting with the initiative. Company representatives serve on the ECHO steering committee and help with the assessment process, the first step in a three-step plan.

After identifying health-related concerns and strengths, likely by early 2015, the team will prioritize what issues should be addressed first. ECHO will then develop an action plan that encourages community partners throughout the county to address health priorities.

“No single entity or agency can make a community healthy alone,” Forzley says. “So much more can be accomplished by working together with a common goal to improve health. Organizations, businesses, residents, and community leaders are welcome and encouraged to become involved.”

ECHO’s community kickoff event, to be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday at the Oakland County Executive Office Building (2100 Pontiac Lake Rd. in Waterford). It also marks the launch of the initiative’s data dashboard, which will provide community health data and information online. 

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