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September 21, 2018

Celebrating four years of impactful health solutions across Douglas County

by Staff, Douglas County Health Department

Improving health across a diverse community isn’t an easy task, but Douglas County has been working to do just that.

Over the past four years — thanks to funding provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) and its partners helped make a difference in the lives of many of our neighbors who need it most.

From making healthy life choices more accessible to minimizing the impact of chronic disease, look at just some of the incredible things we’ve accomplished together!

Increased access to healthy foods

Through our Healthy Neighborhood Stores program, we worked with 14 corner store locations to introduce affordable, fresh foods for consumer purchase. Nebraska Extension offered educational support by hosting on-site food demonstrations and sharing easy, healthy recipes.

two shoppers in grocery store

DCHD also conducted the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey (NEMS) assessment for the fourth time since 2009 in 433 local grocery and convenience stores to better evaluate and ultimately prevent potential food deserts throughout our community.

Improved the selection of snack options in vending machines

With a mission to put healthy foods in the hands of all residents, we created nutrition guidelines to bring smarter snack choices to county vending machines. Now, 14 county buildings (and counting) offer healthier alternatives to typical vending snacks packed with empty calories.

Committed to switching a trip through Midtown on the Move

In an effort to change opinions and behaviors on active modes of transportation, and to inspire more active neighborhoods, we joined forces with Verdis Group and Emspace + Lovgren to develop a pilot project known as “Midtown on the Move.”

Within nine weeks, more than 400 Midtown Omaha residents pledged to leave their car behind and chose to walk, bike, bus or rideshare instead — logging nearly 9,000 switched trips!

Midtown on the Move map and website

The initiative even gained national attention with a feature in AARP’s national Where We Live 2018 magazine, which highlights inspiring communities across America.

Motivated residents to halt prediabetes in its tracks

One in three adults have prediabetes — and 90 percent of those individuals have no idea they’re prediabetic. We supported Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) classes across the county to help people with prediabetes take charge of their health, and hosted a free luncheon to empower employers to motivate their employees to take proactive measures against the condition.

Kept blood pressure in check

We worked with the Florence CHI Health Pharmacy to develop a self-monitored blood pressure program, which accepts walk-ins and even people who aren’t CHI Health patients. Not only has the program uplifted the community-based pharmacist as a physician extender, but countless patients have reduced their chances of heart disease or stroke.

Better yet, the program is expanding to even more CHI pharmacies across Douglas County and beyond.

Ditched front-row parking for more exercise

In partnership with WELLCOM, we challenged people to make small behavior changes that can have a big health impact — like opting for the parking stall farthest from a building to sneak in a few extra steps.

healthy parking stencil on parking lot

The Walk It Guide, a toolkit designed by WELLCOM and DCHD to help workplaces create a walking-friendly environment for their employees, includes ideas like suggesting walking routes, promoting stair use and taking walking meetings to encourage physical activity.

Trained Community Health Workers to put an end to health disparities

In August 2018, DCHD hosted the first “Community Health Worker 101” training. Over the course of four days, 15 current Community Health Workers (CHWs) and their supervisors attended to learn more about building connections between the clinical and community environments.

CHWs continue to work on the front lines with the goal of ensuring health equity in Douglas County — providing advocacy, information and education to help our neighbors improve their lifestyles and find connections to the healthcare resources they need.

 

And this is just the beginning.

As we continue to redefine our health landscape, Douglas County is growing into an environment that supports a culture of health and sustains active, healthy lifestyles for all residents.

 

Active Living, Clinical Care, Healthy Eating

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