Notable successes from the first plan formed the foundation for CHIP 2.0
The Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax elected a new co-chair and adopted a new Community Health Improvement Plan this week — the culmination of a year-long collaborative effort by a diverse coalition of residents, community organizations, schools, healthcare providers, businesses, faith communities and government agencies.
One decade ago, the Fairfax County Health Department convened stakeholders from across the Fairfax community to explore new approaches for addressing critical public health issues. Once the Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax was established, its primary objective was to create and spearhead the implementation of a wide range of community-owned, multi-sector health initiatives.
A resulting five-year Community Health Improvement Plan, referred to as CHIP 1.0, included goals and objectives across seven priority areas, including healthy and safe physical environment, active living, healthy eating, tobacco-free living, health workforce, access to health services, and data.
Some of the achievements under the first CHIP included:
- Creation of the Fairfax Food Council which advocates and promotes healthy eating and access to healthy foods, particularly in areas of highest need. The council’s work supports community gardens, nutrition education programming and emergency food assistance.
- Establishment of Tobacco Free Play Zones at all athletic fields, playgrounds and skate parks in the Fairfax County Park Authority system. Fairfax County Public Schools and the department of Neighborhood and Community Services have adopted similar policies.
- Training and awareness around trauma-informed care practices, ensuring that community-based organizations recognize the presence of trauma symptoms in clients and acknowledge how trauma can impact their lives. Fairfax’s Trauma Informed Community Network is now a model in the region and across the Commonwealth.
A video highlighting these accomplishments is available on the county's YouTube channel.
More than 90 percent of the key actions outlined in the original plan were either completed or in progress, said Partnership co-chair Dr. Robert M. Weiler, Chair and Professor of the George Mason University Department of Global and Community Health.
While these results are impressive, achieving improved health outcomes takes a sustained commitment of time, resources, and effort from community stakeholders and county partners. The new plan reflects opportunities to build on existing initiatives as well as to launch new and innovative collaborations to address critical community health needs. We are excited about the journey ahead.
For CHIP 2.0, the Partnership used information from a dozen data resources, assessments, and reports to identify the most pressing health concerns in the community. Three priority issues — healthy eating, healthy environment and active living, and behavioral health — were selected for inclusion in the 2019-2023 CHIP, indicative of the Partnership’s intention to target its resources and efforts on fewer initiatives.
Each of these three priority issues includes goals, objectives and key actions that will be implemented over the next five years through the Live Healthy Fairfax initiative to promote optimal health and well-being for all who live, work and play in the Fairfax community, which includes Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, and the incorporated towns of Clifton, Herndon and Vienna.
During its annual meeting on December 13, the Partnership also elected Ondrea McIntyre-Hall to serve alongside Dr. Weiler as co-chair. McIntyre-Hall is the Director of Health Access & Nutrition Services at Northern Virginia Family Service, where she is involved in policy and promotion work around the issue of access to health care. She replaces Marlene Blum whose second three-year term as co-chair ended this month.
By involving experienced and trusted community leaders like Ondrea McIntyre-Hall, the Partnership has the best chance for reaching those most in need and achieving positive, sustainable changes for our most vulnerable populations, Weiler said.
CHIP 2019-2023 is available for viewing now on the Community Health Dashboard. To learn more about the Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/livehealthy or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairfax County Health Department
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