Few offer help to MAPP out health improvements

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By Mallory Bilger

SHEPHERDSVILLE ee" Although the crowd seemed small, Bullitt County Health Department’s Education Coordinator Cynthia Brown believes good initiatives must start somewhere.

Twelve people showed up to the county’s first Mobilizing Action Through Planning and Partnerships meeting earlier this month.

MAPP is a national initiative created to help cities and counties take ownership of community health by creating a community wide plan for health improvement.

MAPP is a program dependent on the input of community volunteers from all walks of life including the medical, government, business, civic, religious and educational sectors, just to name a few.

Among the areas represented at the meeting were local colleges, county government, Bullitt County Economic Development, the health department and the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency.

Brown led the crowd in a visioning and brainstorming process to start identifying how a healthy Bullitt County population should look. Among some of the answers were a smoke-free population, accessible healthcare for everyone, people who are knowledgeable about their healthcare options and a more active population.

State Rep. Linda Belcher said she especially would like to see an emphasis on childhood physical activity.

“We want to keep (children) from being these little coach potatoes,” she said.

Other ideas included achieving a drug and alcohol-free youth population, a full-service college in Bullitt County, a full-service hospital and the creation of a county wide public transportation system.

Attendees also considered the important characteristics of a health community. Brown said these ideas are often the “pie in the sky” visions that will take lots of public cooperation and many years to reach. The responses included individualized diet and exercise plans for all citizens, properly lit biking and walking trails, a community center with an indoor pool, better access to technology, career-driven education opportunities and high-quality jobs.

There wasn’t a set view on what Bullitt County’s public health system should look like in the next five to 10 years, but some suggestions included maintaining and growing the Drug Task Force and making sure all citizens had access to proper care.

Brown said she was pleased with the turnout but hoped even more community members would attend the next MAPP meeting on Jan. 28, time to be announced.

She said Bullitt County citizens must realize that better overall community health is everyone’s responsibility and representatives from across the county must contribute to the effort to improve the future.

“We as a staff of three health educators and one intern here at the health department cannot do it all,” Brown said.

For more information about the next MAPP meeting, contact Brown at CynthiaG.Brown@ky.gov or by calling 543-2415.