Thriving Communities- Healthy People-Safe Environment
Protect and improve the health and wellness of all people in Adams County through collaborative partnerships that implement sustainable strategies for health promotion and disease prevention.
To make the healthy choice the easy choice.
The Adams County Health & Wellness Coalition (ACHWC) was formed in 2010 to help combat the staggering obesity and diabetes rates in the County. The “Coalition”, formerly the Adams County Obesity Task Force (2008-2010), is made up of local business stakeholders and researchers from the University of Cincinnati. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of the children of Adams County and their families by assisting the community in creating a culture of wellness through increased physical activities and improved nutrition.
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.
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.
Residents in Adams County experience a multitude of social and environmental conditions leading to health disparities and inequities. Some of these include: a lack of public transportation; a poverty rate of 20.2% with nearly one-quarter of the county’s population participating in the federal food stamps program; a 6.0% unemployment rate (ranked 9th highest in the State); according to the 2015 CFHS & RHWP Health Status Profile: Adams County, Ohio, an uninsured rate of 20% for adults (14.2% for children) and 65.3% of children are enrolled in Medicaid; a lack of formal education (early none quarter of all adults ages 25 and older in Adams County have not earned high school diplomas); little access to affordable and/or available physical activity facilities; and an estimated 20.8% of the total County population having some type of disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Disability Characteristics, 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Of those 20.8% with disabilities, 9.1% are children, ages 17 and under.
According to the 2017 Adams County Community Health Assessment, heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death, at 23% and 21%, respectively. This assessment further reports that 40% of Adams County adults are obese, 35% are overweight, and 22% are sedentary.
The 2018 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps reports that Adams County has an overall health ranking of 88 and a health factor ranking of 88. This study further shows the rate of residents in Adams County as having ‘poor or fair health’ to be 23% (Ohio + 17%); adult obesity to be 32% (Ohio = 32%), 25% of adults smoke (Ohio = 23%), and physical inactivity at 29% (Ohio = 26).
Having received multiple grants in the past ten (10) 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. The ACHWC assisted with the completion of a skateboard park in the priority community of Peebles, development of a new ADA compliant walk path in West Union, improvement in parks in Manchester, Peebles and Seaman, policy changes in schools to promote healthy eating, policies for tobacco free spaces/schools, 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, where adapted bikes were purchased for each school and other institutions, and installing multiple power wheel chair charging stations in each community.
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. In 2017, we were awarded another Gold Community General Award.
The ACHWC will continue to help all residents and children of Adams County take the important first steps toward a healthier lifestyle.