The dedication of Dubois County leaders to improving the health and quality of life of its citizens has earned it the Indiana Healthy Community designation from the Wellness Council of Indiana (WCI).
“In order to make positive changes in the health of Hoosiers, we must move beyond reacting to Indiana’s poor health rankings,” says Wellness Council of Indiana Executive Director Jennifer Pferrer. “By evaluating at the community level and proactively looking upstream, we can make an impact at the individual level and improve health. We are pleased to recognize Dubois County for their efforts to make their community a healthier place to work, live and play.”
Indiana Healthy Communities is an evidence-based collaboration process designed to help communities focus on implementing and sustaining a culture of health and well-being to spur economic vitality.
Through this process, WCI helps communities assess their programs, services and infrastructure in four areas: health, economy, environment and community.
Communities use data from the WCI assessment and other sources to determine needs and then develop a Healthy Community Action Plan with clear goals and objectives. There is a strong emphasis on healthy workplaces and employer involvement as the initiative uses the community health conversation to drive economic vitality.
Three businesses in Dubois County have gone through WCI’s AchieveWELL process, which assists businesses in creating a corporate culture that encourages and supports employee health through worksite wellness initiatives. This state-wide achievement was facilitated by the Dubois County Healthy Community Coalition, a group of key community stakeholders, that came together to collaborate on the comprehensive community assessment and goals to be carried out over the two-year designation cycle. The Dubois County Healthy Community Coalition consists of Cairnstone Benefits Group, Kimball International, the
Dubois County Visitors Center and Tourism Commission, Jasper Engines & Transmission, Purdue Extension, Memorial Hospital and Healthcare Center, the Dubois County Health Department, the Dubois County Board of Commissioners, and the Dubois County Community Foundation.
The coalition is already working on the goals it set for its two-year designation. It will focus on recruiting more employers in the community to go through the AchieveWELL process, establishing the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP) in area farmers’ markets and using information gathered on a community audit led by the Indiana State Department of Health to inform a new comprehensive plan for the city of Jasper.
“I was happy to participate in the Healthy Community Initiative,” says Dubois County Commissioner Nick Hostetter. “It sends the message to residents and potential residents that we are serious about the health and wellbeing of our people. This designation will also help Dubois County to foster additional
action on creating a healthier community.”
Dubois County will be formally recognized at the 2019 Indiana Wellness Summit on September 17, 2019. The coalition will be hosting a community celebration event to recognize community partners and AchieveWELL organizations.
Read more about the county’s efforts (and others across the state) in this 2018 BizVoice story.