Nacogdoches awarded silver ranking by Texas Healthy Communities
For the past four years, Memorial has been lucky to administer the Texas Healthy Communities Grant for the Nacogdoches community. The program was built to empower communities to make positive changes where they live, work and play. Through an assessment of nine specific indicators, the community health department was able to evaluate if our project was moving in the right direction and helping the community in the ways outlined by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. Environmental indicators include offering physical activity areas, healthy eating options, mother-friendly worksites and an evidence-based health curriculum in schools. Policy indicators include a 100% smoke free city smoking ordinance; an EMS system which maintains a rapid response time for cardiac events and treatment of stroke as a medical emergency in the community, with appropriate acute stroke treatment protocols in place.
Nacogdoches County was recognized at the honorable mention level at the start of the grant four years ago, but quickly moved to a bronze level award for two years after that. This year, the community health department is happy to announce that we’ve moved up to a silver level award.
“With encouragement from the state and working with local organizations through the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition, communities like ours have been able to make positive changes to improve the health of its citizens,” said Kim Barton, Memorial’s director of community relations, community health and the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition. “Nacogdoches fully met the expectations on several indicators, including nutrition, tobacco and cardiac and stroke response.”
“There are dedicated and resourceful garden and food pantry groups at work in Nacogdoches, with some truly passionate volunteers carrying the torch to make sure no one goes hungry locally. We have active food pantries and a vital Meals on Wheels program making sure people are fed. We have a wonderful farmers’ market. We also have strong gardening groups cultivating interest in all aspects of community gardening, especially in school gardening programs. Together, these groups have helped Nacogdoches meet the nutrition indicator.”
The City of Nacogdoches has a comprehensive tobacco control program in place and the Nacogdoches County Emergency Medical Services has the required Advanced Life Support (ALS) vehicles with 12 Lead ECG capability covered, so those two indicators were also met.
“Locally, we’ve created new events like Healthy Halloween and Music on the Trail to encourage physical activity and highlight free places that are options for exercise. We’ve installed bike racks and fix-it stations throughout town to make biking an easier option for transportation and we’ve supported worksites to become mother-friendly for the sake of workers and their families. The Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition has also advocated for stricter laws against e-cigarettes and tobacco age restrictions,” Barton said.
“There’s quite a lot going on in Nacogdoches to help us live healthier, reduce risk factors and lessen the impact of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and obesity,” she said. “We should all be proud of our community, because Nacogdoches has so much to offer residents in quality of life, healthcare and social support. It’s a great place.”