The Adams County Health & Wellness Coalition, which falls under the umbrella of the Adams County Medical Foundation, is also supported by the Adams County Creating Healthy Communities Program. Funding for this program comes through the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is administered by the Ohio Department of Health’s Bureau of Healthy Ohio. The ACHWC functions as the Coalition for the Adams County Creating Healthy Communities Program.
Due to limited access to resources in the County, the Coalition counts on partnerships with many local worksites, community services agencies, schools and healthcare providers throughout the County (complete list of Coalition partners attached). Coalition partners, and their efforts and contributions to the health and wellness of all residents of Adams County, are in line with those of the ACHWC and maintain a very healthy collaboration. The Coalition seeks grant funding for numerous projects, some of which have included funding from Interact for Health, GE Foundation grants, Action for Healthy Kids, ODOT Safe Routes to School, and the University of Cincinnati’s Center for Clinical and Transitional Science and Training award.
Adams County Ohio is a quaint, rural area, located approximately 50 miles east of Cincinnati along the Ohio River, with a population of 28,550. One of the poorest counties in Ohio, approximately 23% of all residents live in poverty.
According to the 2016 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Adams County has an overall health ranking of 87 and a health factor ranking of 86. This study further shows the rate of residents in Adams County as having ‘poor or fair health’ to be 20% (Ohio + 17%); adult obesity to be 28% (Ohio = 30%), 23% of adults smoke (Ohio = 21%), physical inactivity at 30% (Ohio = 26%), and one in three Adams County adults suffers from Diabetes. In terms of physical activity, more alarmingly are the rates at which residents in Adams County have access to exercise opportunities: 52%, versus the Ohio rate of 83%. Adams County exceeds the Ohio average in premature age-adjusted mortality at 490 (380 for Ohio), and 19% are food insecure. The 2004-2010 Ohio Department of Health report on Body Mass Index showed that Adams County’s third grader’s had a staggering rate of overweight/obesity of 48.3%. Additionally, Adams County has one of the highest rates of disabilities in the State.
Having received multiple grants in the past six (6) years for the development and implementation of programming to increase access to healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco-free spaces, the Coalition’s endeavors include community grocery store tours, worksite wellness physical activity challenges, nutritional counseling, a monthly radio show, and the development of ADA compliant fitness trails in Peebles and Seaman, allowing all children in the County and all residents of the community at large, access to structured physical activity. Some pieces of the fitness equipment installed are suitable for wheelchair-bound individuals to access. Most recently, the ACHWC is assisting with the completion of a skateboard park in the priority community of Peebles, development of a new ADA compliant walk path in West Union, introduction of healthy concession choices at County Schools’ sporting events and in late 2015, received a grant from The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) to build healthy communities specifically designed to include people with disabilities.
The ACHWC also has an association with the researchers from the University of Cincinnati, and specifically Farrah Jacquez, PhD., whose research program focuses on partnering with communities to develop interventions to promote health equity. Jacquez’s current projects target health care access & quality, obesity, and mental health. This collaborative relationship has afforded the Adams County Health & Wellness Coalition opportunities for grant funding to help implement programming and carry out their mission, as well as credibility in the eyes of their peers. From this partnership, and the effort to develop these interventions, the ACHWC received an Academic-Community Research Partnership Award from the Center for Clinical and Transitional Science and Training at the University of Cincinnati, in 2012.
Each year, the Bureau of Healthy Ohio of the Ohio Department of Health recognizes the outstanding achievements of communities that implement health related policies and provide a healthy community environment with the Health Ohio Healthy Community Awards. In 2013, the ACHWC made their first application and subsequently was honored by receiving a Healthy Ohio Community Gold Award for their role in promoting good health for their residents. This award was a direct result of the partnerships and collaboration with the Adams County Health & Wellness Coalition.
The ACHWC entered into an agreement with lead coach, Lavonne McCoy, and partner coach, Liz Lafferty, to coordinate this grant. The community action plan included increasing access to healthy foods, nutrition education, and opportunities for active living for people with disabilities. They also placed adapted bicycles in all of the County schools, at Manchester Educational & Activity Center, and at Venture Productions, Inc. They are currently in the process of installing power wheelchair charging stations in all villages in Adams County. Work continues for continued improved disability inclusion.