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Community Health Improvement Plan Brings Together Diverse Coalition

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Work continues on Lexington’s Community Health Improvement Plan. The initiative launched in 2012 to identify and help remedy residents’ top health concerns narrowed its focus to three priorities, two of which may not sound like the typical issues tackled by a health agency.

Obesity, unemployment, and unsafe neighborhoods.

For several years now, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has been leading a long list of local partners in efforts to address those persistent problems.

"It's a slightly different group from the usual economic, educational, or healthcare group," Fayette Health Commissioner Dr. Rice Leach says. "We've got a little bit of everything in there."

The group met Tuesday to discuss the progress made on the three fronts – ranging from safety programs in the Winburn community to St. Joseph Hospital’s “Walk with a Doc” events, which give residents a chance to chat with physicians during informal walks around town.

John Kim, manager of violence prevention for KentuckyOne Health at St. Jo, says, by connecting the dots, health agencies are broadening their scope.

"When you're talking about everything from substance abuse to domestic violence, anything like that, it's a social issue but it's also a health issue. So there's definitely more recognition that all of these things are interlinked in some way or another," he says.

The next step for the Community Health Improvement group: assessing whether the trio of concerns first outlined by the community remains at the top of their health checklist.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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