By Vicky Bass, Program Analyst, NACCHO
When I started working on NACCHO’s chronic disease team in December, I was excited to hear that I would be visiting local health departments (LHDs) across the country that participated in a project called ACHIEVE and that I would be given the opportunity to share their stories.
Action Communities for Health, Innovation and EnVironmental changE (ACHIEVE) is a collaboration among the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several national organizations, including NACCHO, to provide funding, technical assistance, and training to 149 communities around the country to innovatively and collaboratively address chronic disease. Funded communities formed coalitions and completed community health assessments in order to develop and implement action plans and drive their coalitions forward.
The project is coming to a close and I will be traveling across the country visiting select ACHIEVE communities and witnessing some of their great achievements, which include supporting physical activity, securing places for mothers to breastfeed, helping employers support employee health, and increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Each site is unique in geography, tradition, culture, demographics, income, and health outcomes. You can expect to hear how these diverse communities have been able to pool resources and harness the local will in their areas. Many of these LHDs will explain how they have been able to significantly combat chronic disease without a lot of money, something that can be replicated across the country at the local level. This series will also highlight innovative practices, tools, and resources that have aided LHDs and their community partners to truly prevent and manage chronic disease and embrace sustainable practices and collaborations.
I invite you to be a part of my visits and share in the successes of communities; learn practical tools for sustainability and implementation; see how communities have overcome barriers; and share your story or ask questions in the comments section. Over the coming few months, I’ll share stories from a number of site visits in this series we’re calling the ACHIEVE Chronicles. The first stop on this trip is to Davidson County, NC, where we will learn about how one community is increasing access to fresh produce, one gas station at a time.