Health department supports governor’s plan

Gov. Snyder recently released his special message on health and wellness for the state of Michigan. Governor Snyder’s message focuses on what we can do at a personal level to increase our own health, and how our focus on a healthier life must start in childhood. Governor Snyder focuses on four key healthy behaviors, which are maintain a healthy diet; engage in regular exercise; annual physical examinations; and avoidance of all tobacco use. Along with these four behaviors he focuses on four health measures that are tied to chronic disease, these are body mass index (BMI); blood pressure; cholesterol level; and blood sugar level. These four behaviors and measures make up the 4x4 plan, which emphasized by Governor Snyder, will lead us all to healthier lives and in turn equal lower healthcare costs.

The Central Michigan District Health Department (CMDHD) supports the Governor’s message.

The CMDHD’s Together We Can! Health Improvement Initiative has been working for the past 18 months to improve health status within central Michigan area.

The Together We Can! Initiative which includes stakeholders and residents in the counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon has a focus of 8 specific areas of health that it believes are the most important to improving the health of our communities. These areas are:

1) access to health services, 2) nutrition, weight status, and physical activity, 3) reproductive and sexual health, 4) maternal and infant health, 5) substance abuse, 6) abusive, violent and controlling behavior, 7) environmental health, and 8) transportation.

For each priority area we are implementing specific plans to target the desired areas. For access to health services we are working with various hospitals and community representatives to create additional free clinics within the region. The second area of nutrition, weight status, and physical activity is being addressed by reducing the percentage of children ages 2-19 who report a BMI of 30 or more by at least 2 percent per year, by working with schools to promote physical education and nutrition. Reproductive and sexual health has a project in place to reduce the number of births to teens aged 15-19 by at least 2 percent by increasing awareness of safe sex. We are focusing on maternal and infant health by increasing the percentage of women who do not smoke during pregnancy by offering smoking cessation classes for pregnant women.

Substance abuse is a growing problem in our area and the Together We Can group will be implementing a program to decrease the percent of people who report excessive drinking bypromoting substance-free and healthy activities. When it comes to abusive, violent, and controlling behavior we are trying to reduce the violent crime rate by at least 26 percent by implementing community-based crime prevention programs and anti-bullying campaigns in schools. Environmental health advocates will be working with local communities to increase recycling options and creating a water stewardship program. The final area is transportation and we are designing a program to eliminate the number of people who use transportation as a reason for not showing up for appointments.

Plans are underway to create a regional public transportation service to make it easier for patients to get to their doctor.

The CMDHD has county Health Improvement Planning (HIP) working groups to address the issues specific to each county that they represent. These groups are open to the public and if you are interested in attending a meeting or assisting in any of these issues, please contact the health department at 989-773-5921 ext. 8413 or find us on Facebook by searching the Together We Can!

Health Improvement Initiative page. For more information on the Together We Can! Initiative, please visit the health department’s website at

For specific contact information for each county, please contact these people:

Arenac Kathy Kent Email:

Clare/Gladwin Sarah Kile Email:

Isabella Helen Lee Email:

Osceola Lisa Pope E-mail:

Roscommon Melissa DeRoche Email:

This article has been brought to you by Central Michigan District Health Department, which serves the counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon Counties