National awards showcase Clark Public Health projects
John Wiesman, Public Health
Vancouver, WA— Clark County Public Health received two Model Practice Awards this week from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Award applications for the annual competition were peer-reviewed by public health professionals from other communities in search of exemplary programs to replicate elsewhere.
Local public health workers were recognized for the following initiatives:
• Health Impact Assessment for Active Transportation
Recognizing the powerful influence of the built environment on health, Public Health conducted a health impact assessment on the county's Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, helping to prioritize projects and maximize opportunities for physical activity. The project focused on people at risk, including low-income families, minorities, children and adults older than 65.
• Prenatal Patient Navigator
First trimester prenatal care is critical to improving health for low-income women and their babies. Working with urgent care clinics, emergency departments, pharmacies, homeless services and faith-based organizations, Public Health is addressing barriers to prenatal care, helping pregnant women navigate health care systems and linking them to community resources and services.
Another local initiative was honored with a Promising Practice Award:
• Geocoded Database for Measuring Neighborhood Food Access
Health assessment staff worked with food inspectors to inventory food outlets and categorize them by food options to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in the county's food system. For example, about 41% of county residents live within one-half mile of a fast food restaurant or convenience store, but only 17% live that close to a grocery store, supermarket or farmers market. This information can be used by planners and policymakers seeking to improve access to healthy foods.
“We are honored to be recognized by our peers. I am very proud of our staff for demonstrating excellence in public health and thank them for their innovation, hard work and commitment to improving health in our community,” said John Wiesman, Clark County Public Health director.
The model programs are now part of the national association’s online, searchable database of successful practices in areas ranging from immunization and maternal and child health to infectious diseases and emergency preparedness.
The association represents 2,800 public health departments nationwide. For more information and to view other award winners, visit www.naccho.org. For more about Clark County Public Health, visit http://www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/index.asp.