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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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July-September 2008 NEWSLETTER

Posted October 09, 2008

This newsletter covers the following topics:

Southeast Alaska Steps…Sitka Health Summits Spark Community Health Planning

In 2006, the Southeast Alaska Steps Program* brought together local public health workers and community agencies representing diverse sectors of Sitka to plan for a Health Summit, which spearheaded a new approach to health promotion in Sitka. Previously, community health planning and promotion had failed to elicit widespread and multi-sectoral health change in Sitka, as evidenced by classic measures: burgeoning numbers of type 2 diabetes cases, low levels of fruit and vegetable consumption, and the highest smoking rates in the state. The aim of the summit was to “celebrate, educate, and participate.” The summit included a Celebration of Health dinner that was open to the entire community, which honored the positive steps the community had already taken. Individual, group, and agency awards were given, information was presented on the current state of the community’s health, and the “Bringing it All Together—Next Steps” planning session was held, allowing community members to emphasize their priority health issues and concerns.

Four health goals were established at the inaugural Sitka Health Summit—to create a bike-and pedestrian-friendly community, to improve the nutritional environment in schools, to develop an indoor community recreation center, and to bring employers and insurance companies together to improve the health status of employees. In the 10 months following the summit, Sitka became the first community in Alaska to be designated as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, developed and acted upon a healthy vending policy for Sitka schools, created a community recreation center out of an abandoned university gymnasium, and formed an “Alaska Working Well” coalition that has led to the establishment of employee wellness programs at the majority of Sitka workplaces.

A second Sitka Health Summit, held in May 2008, resulted in establishing five additional health goals for the city—to create a Sitka Public market to sell fresh produce and fish, to build a community greenhouse, to establish a vibrant community center, to support the community recreation center, and to perform a walkability study. In the 3 months since the second summit, a community garden was created and the first of three Farmers and Fish Markets was held, where produce from the community garden was sold. A grant application was submitted to Safe Routes to Schools for funds to augment the work of the walkability group. This included developing a plan to bring about positive changes that promote and enhance walking and biking to school in Sitka, increasing the number of youth in grades K–8 who are physically active by increasing the number of trips walked or biked to school, and improving safety through education.

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Hillsborough County Steps…Efforts by “Students Working Against Tobacco” Lead to Smoke-Free Policy at Zoo

A successful tobacco-related policy change was facilitated by the Hillsborough County Students Working Against Tobacco* (SWAT) members in Florida. As part of its many active school interventions, the Steps Program in Hillsborough County funds the Youth Tobacco Prevention Coordinator position, which is held by Laurie Ellston who oversees the county's 17 high school SWAT groups. The two pictures below show (on left) SWAT members presenting a certificate of appreciation to managers of the Lowry Park Zoo and (on right) the SWAT's board of directors, which is made up of student representatives.

“On March 29, 2008, the Lowry Park Zoo kicked off their new smoke-free policy that was enacted thanks to the persistence of these teenagers. As part of this year's annual ‘Kick Butts Day’ activities on April 1st, the youth presented the Zoo with a certificate to thank them for this positive action to protect the animals as well as the children and families from exposure to second-hand smoke. ... Students Working Against Tobacco is a grassroots youth organization that empowers the teens of Florida to engage in activities that discourage tobacco marketing to kids,” reported Hillsborough County Steps in its June newsletter.

SWAT members presenting cerficate of appreciation to zoo managers

SWAT board of directors presenting certificate of appreciation

 (Photo Credits: Lowry Park Zoo)

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Pennsylvania Steps…E-Newsletter Promotes Importance of Chronic Disease Prevention Activities

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Steps Program introduced the first edition of its "Get in STEP" e-newsletter. This resource features articles that promote chronic disease prevention awareness throughout Pennsylvania, including how the Steps model has reduced the cost and health complications of chronic diseases and why investing in chronic disease prevention is critical. The newsletter also spotlights current activities in the Pennsylvania Steps Program’s three funded communities, such as promoting several farmer’s markets in Tioga County with the intent of increasing consumption of locally grown fruits and vegetables, implementing the Neighborhood Health Leadership Program in Fayette County, and compiling a Worksite Wellness Toolkit for employers in Luzerne County.

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Colorado Steps…Interactive Playground Technology Grant Helps Battle Childhood Obesity

The Weld County Health Department was the recipient of the latest NEOS™ grant from Playworld Systems, which will bring outdoor electronic gaming to the area through the installation of the new NEOS system at the Greeley Family Fun Plex in Greeley, Colorado. Denise Retzlaff, project coordinator for the Colorado Steps Program in Weld County,* wrote the grant application, emphasizing the county’s desire to use NEOS as a way to battle growing rates of childhood obesity in Greeley. Although Colorado is ranked near the top among health-conscious states in the category of obesity, Greeley and Weld County residents have higher rates of obesity and overweight compared with other Colorado residents.

NEOS’s intriguing design provides an exhilarating new way to play outdoors. It features four columns with interactive sounds and buttons that light up in a random sequence, depending on game selection. Players can choose from nine different games and three skill levels. Scores can be recorded for one or more players, making NEOS competitive and challenging while improving agility, balance, fitness, and social skills.

“The Weld County Health Department was chosen to receive NEOS because of its renewed focus on healthy children and physical education,” said Matt Miller, president of Playworld Systems.

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Steps Program Office Update…Announcement of New Team Lead for Translation and Dissemination

We are pleased to welcome Tim LaPier to the Steps Program National Office as the Team Lead for Translation and Dissemination, effective July 2008. Tim holds a MA in Business and Policy studies and a BS in School Health Education and is a Certified Health Education Specialist charter member.

He worked for several years as a community organizer and the state tobacco control program coordinator for the American Lung Association of New York State. He then worked for three years as the manager of Workplace Health Services, a Division of Community Health Plan (an HMO). This organization provided comprehensive medical services and wellness programs to businesses in the Capital District area of New York State. He worked for 15 years in the New York State Department of Health's Tobacco Control Program. First as a field director, providing technical support to coalitions in the northeastern region of New York State; and second as the director of education, overseeing the development of technical assistance and training materials and workshops for tobacco control partners throughout the state.

More recently, he worked for five years as a project officer for CDC’s Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP). He also served as an internal consultant to help structure and improve the performance of several partner initiatives, including the Healthy People 2010 Memorandum Of Understanding Partnership, the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and the National Association of Chronic Disease Director’s Cardiovascular Health Council. He also contributed to the development of several DHDSP translation documents, including the Heart Healthy and Stroke-Free Workplace manual and the Partnership Evaluation Toolkit.

Abby Rosenthal, MPH, served as the Acting Team Lead for Translation and Dissemination from February 2008–June 2008 on a temporary detail from her position as a Health Education Specialist with CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. She was also a significant contributor to one of the five Action Guides in The Community Health Promotion Handbook, entitled Healthcare Provider Reminder Systems, Provider Education, and Patient Education: Working with Healthcare Delivery Systems to Improve the Delivery of Tobacco-Use Treatment to Patients. Many thanks to Abby for her time and effort with the Steps Program!

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New Public Health Campaigns…Encouraging African Americans and Members of Other Minority Groups to Visit the Doctor Regularly

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently launched two campaigns created by CDC and the Ad Council. The first is called "Real Men Wear Gowns," which obviously targets men, but specifically African-American and Hispanic men, to encourage them to get preventive screenings. The Web site includes information on preventive services and medications, a glossary of relevant terms, and help finding additional advice and support.

The second, called "Superhéroes," is completely in Spanish and aims to influence parents to take care of their health for the sake of their children. This campaign highlights similar preventive issues featured on the AHRQ Web site and describes the affects of family wellness.

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Resource Highlight…The Community Health Workers’ Training Manual for Preventing Heart Disease and Stroke

In the United States, community health workers (CHWs) help us meet our national Healthy People goals by conducting community-level activities and interventions that promote health and prevent diseases and disability. CHWs are trusted, respected members of the community who serve as a bridge between their community members and professionals in the field of health and human services. They provide an important service by establishing and improving relationships between these professionals and members of the community.

The Community Health Workers Sourcebook: A Training Manual for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention is the first comprehensive cardiovascular training curriculum for community health workers (CHWs) and other lay people. The sourcebook offers basic information and activities to increase CHW skills in preventing heart disease and stroke. It covers topics across the spectrum of heart disease and stroke that are essential for the education and promotion of disease self-management for community members. The sourcebook reflects the latest research and national guidelines on heart disease and stroke and their prevention.

This new resource builds on the strong partnerships between CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and Healthy People 2010 Partnership agencies and organizations. The sourcebook follows the familiar format of the well-known National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) training curricula, Your Heart, Your Life: A Lay Health Educator’s Manual and Honoring the Gift of Heart Health: A Heart Health Educator’s Manual for American Indians and Alaska Natives. This format makes the sourcebook a compatible training companion for those familiar with the NHLBI training manuals. CDC has asked its partners to assist in widely disseminating the sourcebook.

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Upcoming Conferences of Interest…For Steps Grantees and Partners

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*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: October 8, 2008
Page last modified: October 8, 2008
Content source: Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

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