Health Division hosts kickoff event for countywide health initiative

 Oakland County Health Division is launching a countywide initiative to create a health improvement plan for Oakland County. Community partners will be engaged to assess health, align collaborative efforts, and expand successful practices to better address public health needs. The initiative, Energizing Connections for a Healthier Oakland (ECHO) is hosting a community kickoff event on Monday, April 28, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Executive Office Building, Building 41W, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. All community members and organizations are invited to learn about ECHO and how they can take action to improve their community’s health.

“Our quality of life is inextricably linked to healthier lifestyles,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “ECHO enables our Health Division and its community partners to build on our strengths to achieve better overall health in the county.”

ECHO will examine the entire county’s health and look closely at some areas of need, such as poor health measures and lack of access to health care, healthy foods and places to be active. Thirty members of the ECHO steering committee met for the first time in December to plan the processes and create four assessment teams that will gather information and data to provide a comprehensive picture of health in Oakland County.

The in-depth assessment will focus on individuals who live, work, attend school, worship, or play in the county. To attain such a reach, the Health Division will work closely with its community partners.

“No single entity or agency can make a community healthy alone,” said Kathy Forzley manager/health officer of the Health Division. “So much more can be accomplished by working together with a common goal to improve health. Organizations, businesses, residents, and community leaders are welcome and encouraged to become involved.”

ECHO has three steps:

• Step 1 – Identify: ECHO is gathering local health data to create a comprehensive snapshot of the county’s health status. In other words, it will “take the pulse” of the community to identify health-related concerns and strengths.

• Step 2 – Prioritize: Once the data is gathered, the community will determine what health issues need to be addressed and will then rank them.

• Step 3 – Act: ECHO will develop a coordinated action plan to empower partners throughout the community to play a role in addressing Oakland County’s health priorities.

At the kickoff event, ECHO will also launch their data dashboard. The dashboard is an online collection of community health data and information that is important to the ECHO process and will assist partners to retrieve health data to assist with program planning, reporting and grant writing.

For additional information about ECHO, visit www.oakgov.com/health or contact echo@oakgov.com. Up-to-date public health information is also available on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC.

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