By: Caroline Young, Executive Director, NashvilleHealth
When partners come together, building on years – even decades – of helping Nashville be healthier, we know that we are on to something. That’s the story of NashvilleHealth in 2016, and it’s the story we are building together for our future.
If this past year proved to be a landmark for NashvilleHealth, the coming year is the next step in a journey to be a partner in moving our entire city forward. The research and advice from local leaders and national experts added to our city’s collective health wisdom, and fueled our unique set-up as partners committed daily to investing in the health of our friends and neighbors. Many of these leaders serve on our Board and Steering Committees, both of which formed this past year, and we are grateful for their insight.
Now we turn to deploying strategies that will make an impact. Some are new to our city, or new altogether to the nation’s wellness landscape. Others are built on work already underway by our partners. But all will make a difference. So we focus on execution and measurement this year in the following areas:
Statistics speak volumes in this area. Approximately 21% of Nashville residents smoke; yet the CDC wants to see that number at only 12%. This clear-cut statistic gives us a defined measurement to close. We already saw policy movement, as the Ascend Amphitheater banned smoking this past year. With a coalition meeting regularly of business, government, and non-profit change-makers, we hope more progress will come.
Most immediately, we are focused on supporting the Tennessee Department of Health’s 2017 “Quittin’ Time in Tennessee” campaign, which will launch with an event mid-month. Through “Quittin’ Time,” we join partners across the state in sharing resources for people to quit or encourage a loved one to take that big step. We look forward to sharing more on event day!
The Women’s Heart Alliance, founded three years ago by Barbra Streisand, selected Nashville as a part of its “City With Heart” Initiative! That means the national group will work with NashvilleHealth and other local partners to tackle women’s heart issues, which are the #1 cause of death among women. Known as a silent killer, 1 in 3 women has heart disease, whether she knows it or not. We look forward to this work, which offers women very clear ways to check their heart status and take action.
There are other initiatives and grant pursuits underway that, again, offer a very clear way for people to know their heart health status and find the right combination of diet, exercise, medication, and other ways to get healthy! We look forward to announcing those this year.
Here’s what we know when it comes to starting kids out right in life: we have incredible doctors, NICU staff, researchers, and mothers. Yet, our infant mortality rate is too high. At the same time, we know what works to help infants be healthy. So, we are in tight partnership with the Metro Health Department and Meharry Medical College to form a city-wide infant health collaborative to evaluate what has helped keep babies healthy so far – including safe sleeping places and a mom’s health before she gets pregnant – and support programs around those goals that work.
Execution. Measurement. And data-tracking. This last piece is also a focus for NashvilleHealth and we are exploring innovative ways – platforms and collaborations – to constantly keep track of where we stand on key health measures and what initiatives are making a dent in helping our people be healthy. Today, we are learning from other cities what works and what doesn’t in this area so that we can build the most robust solution for us, right here in Nashville.
More than anything, NashvilleHealth is the sum of its parts. We cannot do the work without the partners in this city who have invested their lives, time, and resources to help create a culture of health. This year is another step. And so will be the years to come. We look forward to what we can do together.
NashvilleHealth creates a culture of health and wellbeing by serving as a convener to open dialogue, align resources and build smart strategic partnerships to create a bold plan for health and wellbeing in Nashville.Check out our latest newsletter
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