Health and Family Services Cabinet
Public Health Working to Improve Health of Communities
Conference to Help Educate, Direct Communities’ Health Policies
Kentucky community leaders and health officials will have the opportunity to learn more about building healthier cities and towns thanks to an upcoming conference sponsored by the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH).
The event, Moving Communities from Programs to Policies, will be May 6 and 7 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Lexington. Joseph W. Thompson, M.D., Arkansas surgeon general, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity and director of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, will be the keynote speaker.
“When it comes to the health of our state, we definitely have room for improvement and we’re working to get our communities on board in this process,” said DPH Commissioner William Hacker, M.D. “Many assume that the creation of a healthy lifestyle is up to the individual, but we have learned that healthy living is also linked to the individual’s environment. The goal of this conference is to give communities the opportunity to learn what they can do to create the right kind of infrastructure for their citizens.”
Healthy Communities began as a DPH grant program that provided awards to Harrison, Madison and Jackson counties last year. The conference will give attendees the opportunity to learn more about how the grants benefited these communities; how their efforts can be duplicated; and what kinds of other programs with similar missions exist. Breakout sessions will cover a variety of topics such as food policy and worksite wellness.
The first day of the conference will include a welcome by Hacker as well as an overview of the healthy communities concept by Regina Washington, director of the division of prevention and quality improvement in DPH. Panel discussions will follow featuring Healthy Communities grant recipients, Marigny Bostik from the Louisville Mayor’s Healthy Hometown initiative, and others.
Louisville’s Mozziz “Coach Mo” Dewalt, who recently appeared on the popular television program “Biggest Loser,” also will speak on the first day of the conference. Dewalt is the CEO and founder of a service organization assisting Louisville’s impoverished youth in the community, focusing on academic excellence, physical exercise, athletic training and competition.