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Healthy Suffolk reviews its 2017

To the editor:

The greatness of any community can be measured, in part, by the priorities it places on the health and wellbeing of its citizens. Since its founding 15-plus years ago as the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community, Healthy Suffolk has advanced wellness and livability for every citizen of our city, through the establishment of the Western Tidewater Free Clinic and through healthy eating and active living initiatives that engage, educate and provide nutritional resources to the underserved. We have achieved this by building coalitions of citizens who are willing to invest time, resources and energy. We thank each of you who have joined us on this journey.

Our work has delivered benefits to our city. In 2017:

  • We experienced a 16-percent increase in participation in our semi-annual 5K races and 1 Mile Fun Walks, with 88 percent of participants saying they will participate again next year.
  • Thirty-one businesses and organizations and more than 1,100 citizens engaged in our programs that embrace walking and other forms of movement.
  • Seven Suffolk businesses instituted new policy changes that promote wellness.
  • Our 18 community and school gardens have continued to thrive. In the past eight years, our gardens have produced more than four tons of food that have gone directly onto the plates of Suffolk residents.
  • Our seasonal garden forums and Art of Supper dinner forums bought informative speakers and educational information to hundreds of citizens who are engaged in improving their own health and the health of our community.
  • Our Coalition launched a multi-sectoral leadership effort to plan, advocate for and implement long term policy and system changes to address disparities and barriers to healthy eating and active living.

These are impressive statistics, but vibrant communities grow and thrive by not resting on their laurels. In that vein, Healthy Suffolk invites all citizens of Suffolk to engage with us in 2018 by continuing to make health, wellness and livability top priorities for our community.

Join Healthy Suffolk by participating in healthy eating and active living programs — by accessing the tools, resources and information we make available on our internet portal, healthysuffolkva.org — and by providing input to assist us in sustaining an even more vibrant culture of health in our community.

As we prepare for 2018, we continue to welcome your thoughts, your ideas and your participation. Together, we can make Suffolk a model healthy community for current and future generations, for the commonwealth and the nation. We can improve our health indicators, achieve recognition as one of the most livable cities and, most importantly, give every citizen the opportunity for optimal health and wellbeing.

You can reach us any time by calling 539-1525 or emailing info@healthysuffolkva.org.

 

Douglas Naismith

Chair, Healthy Suffolk board of directors

Regina P. Brayboy

Healthy Suffolk executive director