Impact York County – Strive, Thrive, Stay Alive!

by Elizabeth W. Duda

Impact York County

York County, SC (Oct. 23, 2019) Spotlighted when Rock Hill received the 2019 All-America City award, Impact York County collaborates to empower our community through health and wellness. This “coalition of coalitions” formed at the 2016 SC Population Health Summit. York County-area participants agreed to work together to influence York County toward healthier living. Impact York County partners began to meet monthly to help community members “strive, thrive and stay alive!”

Through a three-year Duke Endowment grant, Impact York County launched the Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas (HPHC) initiative. It will help our community address chronic health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Coalition members reviewed poverty, health disparity and other data. They then chose to pilot the effort in two neighborhoods with clear disparities: Rock Hill’s Triangle and South-Central census tracts, where median household income is nearly 50% that of York County’s. Impact York County will not limit its work to Rock Hill – the coalition will create a county-based community improvement plan.

The next step is to hear concerns, ideas and priorities of neighborhood residents and businesses through the World Café method. Priority areas could be: behavioral health; preventable diseases; diabetes; maternal and child care; obesity, nutrition and physical activity; access to care; or something else. Impact York County partners will design and implement solution‐focused, evidence‐based interventions and healthy-living initiatives. Some already implemented by Impact York County partners that could be leveraged are:

  • Diabetes Prevention Program – helps adults at high risk for diabetes adopt and maintain lifestyle changes to reduce risk
  • Nurse-Family Partnership – a maternal and early-childhood health program in which nurses support first-time moms
  • Healthy Weight and Your Child – creates safe, fun and active environments for children and families to explore and adopt proven methods to live a healthier lifestyle
  • SC Tobacco Quit Line – uses talk therapy and nicotine replacement therapy as a treatment method to cope with addiction
  • Many Men, Many Voices – an HIV/STI-prevention intervention for black men who have sex with men and may or may not identify as gay
  • Reach Out and Read – incorporates books into pediatric care, encouraging families to read aloud
  • Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 – a model to reduce childhood overweight and obesity rates with healthy food/drink choice and active living messages

But the plan is unknown as community members will set priorities, and Impact York County will design solutions in collaboration with traditional and non-traditional partners.

Coalition members include medical professionals, child services, hospice, nonprofits, local governments and agencies, universities, businesses and coalitions. Eat Smart Move More York County is a proud member of Impact York County.

Through the Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas grant, Impact York County hired a community health coordinator and members have gotten training. “Grassroots efforts are an important ingredient in improving community health,” says Weyling White, Community Health Coordinator, Impact York County. “We have to understand the complexity of each community that hinders healthy living.  We must identify community needs and gather community input in order to provide solutions that lead to a better quality of life and well being for everyone. As we continue to promote healthy and flourishing communities, we must ensure the practice of healthy eating and living, while removing the barriers to accessing nutritious food and vital health care services.”

The strength of Impact York County’s approach was validated when Rock Hill was one of ten communities (of 500 considered) awarded the 2019 All-America City designation. This year’s theme was “enhancing health and well being through civic engagement.” The award celebrated examples of civic engagement practices that advance health and well-being in local communities, address critical issues, and create stronger connections among residents, businesses, and nonprofit and government leaders – particularly for populations currently experiencing poorer health outcomes.

Impact York County meets the third Friday of each month at 9am at The Ernest G. Brown Women’sand Pediatric Center, North Central Family Medical Center, 1140 Saluda St., Rock Hill. To learn more or join the coalition, contact Shekinah Miller, chair, or Weyling White, Community Health Coordinator. See the Impact York County website and Facebook page  (@ImpactYorkCounty)

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