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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Healthy Communities Program
4770 Buford Highway, N.E., Mailstop K-93
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717

Telephone: (770) 488-6452
Fax: (770) 488-8488

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Posted June 24, 2009

This newsletter covers the following topics:

2009 Steps Community Heroes…Ann Brown from DeKalb County and Karen Pesce from Hillsborough County

Ann Brown is a vital part of the DeKalb Steps community in Georgia. She is the Steps ambassador and cheerleader, spreading the word to neighbors, friends, and family about all the incredible things Steps is doing in DeKalb County. In addition to working in DeKalb County government and volunteering her time to neighborhood causes, Ann serves as a member of the Steps to a Healthier DeKalb Leadership Team and is co-chair of the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) initiative sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. She has been an integral part of numerous DeKalb Steps initiatives, including the Belvedere Line Project and the Live Healthy DeKalb sustainability series. Ann has a clear love for the community and diligently seeks out opportunities to improve quality of life for DeKalb’s citizens.

Ann’s volunteerism has had a major impact on the DeKalb community, particularly in her role as the champion of the expanding built environment initiative in the Belvedere community. She spearheaded a petition to help save one of the neighborhood’s main bus routes, which is an integral mode of public transportation for this Steps target neighborhood’s lower-income and elderly residents. She also was the driving force behind a Steps initiative to connect the neighborhood with the only park in the area so that young people, among others who use the park, wouldn’t have to cross a dangerous busy main road to get there. In her role as a Steps Leadership Team member, Ann is actively involved in educating the community about DeKalb Steps’ healthy living programs and activities. As co-chair of the HEAL initiative, she works diligently to promote healthy lifestyles among community residents by collaborating with community stakeholders who provide cooking demonstration classes, organize walking clubs, and develop fitness programs for families at a local elementary school. Ann also works closely with county officials to ensure safe walking routes for community members.

Karen Pesce has worked with the Steps Program in Hillsborough County, Florida, for the past 4½ years to address the program’s call to action to improve parent and student knowledge and behavior regarding nutrition and fitness. Through a collaborative effort among school districts, hospitals, law enforcement, and numerous community partners, Karen’s team has taught interactive health lessons, free of charge, to more than 1½ million school-aged children throughout the Tampa Bay Community. These lessons are taught in public and private schools, reaching approximately 190,000 students annually. All of these lessons are matched to the required Florida Sunshine State Standards for health, science, language, and math, and, again, they are offered to students and their parents free of charge.

As part of this effort, Karen implemented a Nutrition Continuum Program that consists of six nutrition and fitness lessons reaching more than 65,000 students in grades K through 12 in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Karen was able to obtain funding from hospitals, foundations, and community partners to implement this program. Each class is taught by an instructor that she is responsible for as the executive director of a local nonprofit health foundation. The lessons stress the importance not only of eating a healthy diet, but also the importance of incorporating physical activity into the student’s daily routine.

Karen is a strong, quiet force behind changing the way students and parents in the Florida Steps communities think about nutrition and fitness, and because of her commitment to working with them, many of these students and their parents have begun to adopt healthier lifestyles. Karen works tirelessly to help these community residents increase their knowledge about good nutrition and regular physical activity, hoping that, in the end, her work will pay off and the rates of diabetes and obesity, as well as other chronic diseases, will decrease among the residents of Tampa, where she is deeply respected, as well as in all of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties where Karen has so unselfishly dedicated her time to these Steps initiatives – like a true Steps champion – like a “hero.”

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Pinellas County Steps…Recognized for Its School Health Practices

The Pinellas County Steps* community in Florida was recognized by the National School Board Association for its efforts in addressing and improving school health. The school system implemented the Coordinated School Health Model to help address health risk behaviors and health promotion issues related to obesity, diabetes, and asthma. The Pinellas County Steps intervention area includes 35 Elementary Schools, 11 Middle Schools, 2 Discipline Schools, and 2 Special Education Schools.

One key strategy was the creation of a partnership that included the Pinellas County Schools, GlaxoSmithKline, the local chapter of the American Lung Association, and the local chapter of The Asthma and Allergy Foundation to work toward reducing absenteeism related to asthma. The program monitors absenteeism and provides in-school asthma education for students, asthma education for parents, asthma action planning, and parent-physician collaboration. Through this project, both quality of life and attendance improved for students with asthma.

DeKalb County Steps…Policy Changes in Schools, Work Sites, and the Community

The DeKalb County Steps (* community in Georgia is leading efforts to encourage active living and a healthy environment. It is changing policies in the community by helping develop an active living plan for the Belvedere-Line Street neighborhood. The plan calls for residents to identify opportunities to improve connections between their homes and destinations and to encourage activities such as walking and bicycling. Designing paths that community members use for biking and walking to work, school, and for fun will increase physical activity levels.

Partnering with a local Camp Fire USA chapter, called Teens in Action, and the DeKalb County School System enabled DeKalb County Steps to get the 100% tobacco-free schools policy passed within DeKalb, the third-largest school district in the state, impacting approximately 112,000 students and staff members. They are implementing Alternative to Suspension programs, tobacco-cessation clinics, and tobacco-use prevention programs. In addition, uniform signage is being purchased to be placed on each campus, so all students, staff, and visitors are aware that they are on a 100% tobacco-free campus.

Last, the DeKalb County Steps community provided technical assistance to the DeKalb County government to help establish an incentive-based wellness program for its employees across multiple sites. The program aims to increase physical activity and improve the overall health of its 7,000 employees and their family members. In addition to implementing wellness programs, they helped pass a work site healthy catering policy.

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Helpful Resource...Cleveland Steps Community Garden Report

Cleveland Steps partnered with the Case Western Reserve University and the Ohio State University Extension service to develop a community garden report* (PDF–15.31M). This report provides a location-specific overview of the Steps-supported community garden programs. The garden programming is intended to promote healthier lifestyle choices among program participants through nutrition and health education and by providing greater access and opportunity for participation in community gardening activities. This report includes the surveys used to collect the data from each Steps gardener.

E-Learning Course…Planning for Healthy Places with Health Impact Assessments

Planning for Healthy Places with Health Impact Assessments is a ‘how to’ guide for conducting health impact assessments (HIAs). This free e-learning course explains the value of conducting an HIA and the steps involved in the process. Throughout the course, examples of health impact assessments will be highlighted and discussed. The course was developed by the American Planning Association and the National Association of County & City Health Officials, and sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information on the course visit:*

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Guidelines Implementation Panel Report…Diagnosing and Managing Asthma

The National Institutes of Health’s National Asthma Education and Prevention Program released the Guidelines Implementation Panel Report for the Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR-3) – Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Asthma: Partners Putting Guidelines into Action.

The report provides the substance and impetus to collectively focus intended users on several important issues of the EPR-3 that, if implemented widely, could have great impact on improving asthma control. The report describes ways to apply valuable lessons learned from past guidelines implementation efforts and invites participation within the greater network of asthma stakeholders to: 1) direct or redirect resources toward a coordinated approach that focuses efforts on activities most likely to succeed; 2) seek ways to pool resources and collaborate with partners to extend outreach and impact; and 3) assume leadership and a more prominent role within the asthma community for improving guidelines implementation.

Upcoming Conferences of Interest…For Steps Communities and Partners

  • July 27–29, 2009……Washington, District of Columbia
    Inaugural Conference on Obesity Prevention and Control, “Weight of the Nation,”* hosted by CDC.
  • September 15–16, 2009……Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Research to Practice Symposium: Promoting Environmental and Policy Change to Support Healthy Aging, sponsored by CDC’s Prevention Research Centers–Healthy Aging Research Network, Healthy Communities Program, and Healthy Aging Program.*
  • October 26–28, 2009……Atlanta, Georgia
    The 2009 National Environmental Public Health Conference, “Healthy People in a Healthy Environment,” sponsored by CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, in conjunction with the National Environmental Health Association.*

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One or more documents on this Web page are available in Adobe Acrobat® Format (PDF). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF files on this page.

*Links to non-Federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. Links do not constitute an endorsement of any organization by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be  inferred. The CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at this link.

Page last reviewed: June 24, 2009
Page last modified: June 24, 2009
Content source: Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

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