Pioneering Healthy Communities
The YMCA of Broward County has been selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and YUSA as one of ten Ys in the nation to participate in a multi-year program designed to improve the overall health of our community. The tools provided are based on evidence based practices about what works to change communities.
The goal is to develop policies and environmental changes that promote overall community health and directly address the epidemics of physical inactivity and poor nutrition. This work seeks to move beyond simply programs aimed at reducing obesity. This work is not aimed at individual behaviors but the systems and environments that make healthful choices difficult for whole communities. With passionate community partners such as yourselves and data driven decision making, the process is designed to improve community access to nutritious foods, safe routes to school, safe community green space, and opportunities for active recreation and active transportation.
Upon receiving the award in January, the YMCA of Broward County began assembling a county wide team representing many community sectors. This team has been meeting since April to begin formulating the Community Action Plan forBrowardCounty. The first portion of this plan was submitted to the YUSA and CDC. Upon completion of the Community Action Plan the PHC team will be eligible for dollars to begin the implementation phase. These funds will be used to staff the PHC initiative as we begin to roll it out in communities acrossBrowardCounty.
During the formulation of the Community Action Plan, a sub group of PHC team members traveled toWashingtonDCto the Pioneering Healthy Communities conference where they learned about tools available to PHC teams and proven practices to improve the health of communities through policy and environmental changes. The team heard from academics, community level elected officials, business leaders, and educators about how this work has positively impacted their community.
Upon return from this trip, the PHC team committed to forming a process, toolbox, and technical support that will be available to communities inBrowardCountyto formulate their individual Community Action Plans and begin transforming their communities to ensure that children and families live in healthful environments, regardless of their socioeconomic status. The goal is to craft Community Action Plans that integrate existing efforts and position communities to leverage assets for positive policy and environmental change.
Because of the existing partnership with the Y andLauderhillMiddle School, excellent partnership with the City ofLauderhill, and support from elected officials for healthier communities, the team has selectedLauderhillas our first community of interest where we will implement the PHC process.