Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Achieve Healthy Communities Initiative

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Achieve Healthy Communities Initiative

Article excerpt

NRPA WAS SELECTED along with three other National Organizations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish a national program to promote heakhy communities and prevent chronic diseases. The Action Communities for Health, Innovation and EnVironmental ChangeE (ACHIEVE) initiative seeks to build on the experiences of community based chronic disease prevention programs to empower local communities with funding, tools and strategies to implement and sustain policy, systems and environmental changes in chronic disease prevention and health promotion.

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NRPA was able to fund 10 public park and recreation agencies in 2009 to affect significant change in their communities by working with local government organizations to implement a coordinated chronic disease prevention and health and wellness program. The 2009 NRPA ACHIEVE agencies are:

* Montgomery County Parks and Recreation Department, AL

* La Mirada Community Services, CA

* North Miami Parks and Recreation Department, FL

* Davenport Parks and Recreation, IA w Chicago Park District, IL

* City of O'Fallon, Parks and Recreation, MO

* Greenville County Recreation District, SC

* Pierre Parks and Recreation, SD

* Longview Parks and Recreation Department, WA

* Lynnwood Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts, WA

The purpose of ACHIEVE is to bring together local leaders and stakeholders to build healthier communities by promoting policy, systems, and environmental change strategies that focus on physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Funded park and recreation agencies were notified of their status in March 2009 and immediately began forming their Community Health Action Response Teams (CHARTs) Beginning with the identification of Coaches. The Coaches represent the funded park and recreation agency and an outside organization/local government entity.

It is the responsibility of the Coaches to identify key community stakeholders whose membership on the CHART would lead to successful development and implementation of the policy, systems and environmental change strategies. CHART members will help ensure ACHIEVE does not become a series of projects that will come and go, and will bring their organization's assets, expertise and strengths to collectively improve the health and wellbeing of the community. Jennifer Anderson, a Co-Coach for Montgomery, Alabama, ACHIEVE advises, "Your CHART needs teeth. …

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