History of CHC:
In 1999 a core group of individuals representing several local agencies/organizations interested in the “health” of the community formed a local coalition. This coalition, the Jasper and Newton Counties Community Health Collaborative (CHC) now has representation from several member agencies/organizations such as Jasper County Health Department, Joplin Health Department, Newton County Health Department, United Way, the Alliance of Southwest Missouri, Freeman Health System, Mercy Hospital and others. The coalition functions a collaborative (subcommittee) of The Alliance of Southwest Missouri.
The mission of the CHC is to generate partnerships that will:
- Gather, interpret and share health information with the community
- Promote healthy behaviors
- Improve access to care
- Maximize efficient use of resources
The CHC has been involved in several community health initiatives which include:
- Comprehensive community health assessments in 2002, 2005 and 2009.
- The “Got Soap” handwash initiative aimed at reducing communicable diseases .
- A 2-year “Operation Smile” oral health improvement initiative aimed at increasing the number of local communities with a fluoridated water source.
- Working with area stakeholders on a teen pregnancy reduction initiative.
- Local Breathe-Easy initiative that was aimed at tobacco control policies
- A smoke-free restaurants guide aimed at reducing secondhand smoke exposure.
LiveSmart is a community health improvement initiative of the Jasper and Newton Counties Community Health Collaborative (CHC). Our mission is to educate area residents about area health concerns and encourage healthy behaviors. In this effort, the CHC has mounted a community-wide multi-component obesity reduction initiative in Jasper and Newton Counties. The initiative is based on best practice models that have proven to be effective elsewhere. They include:
- Printed educational materials (pamphlets, brochures, posters, etc.) that can be utilized at businesses, schools, government offices, non-profit agencies, etc.
- Mass media (PSA’s, billboards, newspaper articles, etc.)
- Internet availability via a web site component
- Health screenings
- Policy change efforts geared at local governments (to encourage exercise availability, such as walking trails, for residents) and for schools to encourage healthy foods/snacks on campus
Livesmart Campaign Goals
- Increase public awareness about the importance of balancing food choices and physical activity,
- Increase opportunities to engage in physical activities and healthy eating habits.
Livesmart Campaign Focus
The campaign focus on three aspects of resident’s lives:
- The Community Environment, or where families spend their time in physical and social environments such as in the home, at church, etc.
- In Schools and in Childcare where our children spend much of their time.
- At Worksites where parents and adults work and spend significant amounts of time.
The biggest barrier to a healthy two-county community is the gap between people knowing how to live healthy and putting that knowledge into practice. The CHC is dedicated to improving opportunities to live healthily and connecting people to those opportunities, thereby moving more people from the education to the participation stage. These changes will provide an environment that encourages an active lifestyle with support to sustain that lifestyle. This will build healthy Jasper and Newton Counties.
Social economic conditions in the two county area can also be a barrier to access to proper exercise and diet. The LiveSmart campaign will work to improve proper exercise and diet regardless of this status. Examples of this might include – expanding access to free, safe walking trails, or improving availability of fresh fruits and vegetables via farmers markets.
A healthy two-county area would be one in which families and individuals are comfortable being active and able to make informed choices about proper diet and exercise. It would include making facilities, parks, and walking/ biking areas throughout the area easily accessible. Restaurants and grocery stores would post nutritional information to help people make good food choices. Employers would proactively encourage employee wellness. Schools would encourage healthy children by allowing for safe in-school and out of school active time and by adopting policies that encourage healthy eating on campus. Children would learn healthy practices at school and bring those practices home to their parents. Parents would learn healthy practices at work and bring these home to their children. Families would hear of healthy practices throughout the community in the media, at places where they do business, and at their faith community. This vision can become practice only if supported at all levels and throughout the community.
Community Health Status:
The Community Health Status Report 2010 was compiled by the CHC. The report identified unhealthy behaviors such as lack of regular exercise, lack of proper diet, and high levels of smoking that contribute to high rates for various chronic diseases in the two-county area.