Image courtesy of the Allegheny County Health Department
The Allegheny County Health Department is taking its Plan for a Healthier Allegheny
on a small, four-stop tour.
The plan, introduced in May, seeks to educate county residents on the most “critical” facets of health care in the region.
“The foundation of good public health is to understand where you are and identify where you want to go,” ACHD Director Dr. Karen Hacker says.
The primary areas of the plan are: access to health care; chronic-disease health-risk behaviors; environmental dangers; maternity and child care; mental health; and substance abuse. The areas were chosen after a "fairly rigorous process," Hacker says, that included: an online community-health survey, 14 community meetings, an examination of existing data and input from an advisory committee. More information on that process can be found here
While the larger plan seeks to address these primary concerns, the open-house events will operate more like health-care fairs, Hacker says. The ACHD and its community partners will set up tables to showcase online resources and introduce attendees to the master plan.
"The whole point here is to get a community consensus going to really drive change," Hacker says. "Having a plan that we can all get behind and work together on is the first step."
The greater vision of the initiative is set to roll out over a five-year period. Hacker says ACHD introduced the plan to “lead health improvement” by “[giving] everyone common goals.” Additionally, she says, the health department is seeking accreditation
, and the plan is a step in the process toward that status.
"I think the main thing is [that] the accreditation provides a real road map for improvement as a health department, and [the plan] was a very helpful organization strategy for us here at ACHD," Hacker says.
The open houses begin next week.
Meeting dates and locations:
6:30-8 p.m. Mon., June 22. Castle Shannon Library, 3677 Myrtle Ave., Castle Shannon. 412-563-4552
6:30-8 p.m. Tue., June 23. Allegheny Intermediate Unit, 475 E. Waterfront Drive, Homestead. 412-394-5700
6:30-8 p.m. Tue., July 7. Baierl Family YMCA, 2565 Nicholson Road, Sewickley. 724-934-9622
6:30-8 p.m. Mon., July 27. Thelma Lovette YMCA, 2114 Centre Ave., Hill District. 412-315-0990