May 15, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Scioto County Community Health Improvement Plan became official with minor revisions after it was looked over and commented on by members of the Scioto County Health Coalition.
According to Chris Smith, city of Portsmouth Health Commissioner, the plan is a working document that will serve as a guide for the coalition activities through the remainder of the year.
Some of the highlights and priorities of the plan include looking to see if the area has a homelessness problem, seeking to improve lifestyle choices, nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use reduction. Also, continuing to confront illegal drug use, increase access to affordable health care, conduct community health screenings, decrease unemployment and cleaning up neighborhoods among others.
“We’re looking at encouraging restaurants to offer healthier choices. We wants to start looking at the state level about improving the requirements for physical education and health education in schools. This is almost like the drug issue, we did not necessarily get rid of our pill mills by working locally, a lot of that work was done at the state level. We think we can have more of an impact at the state level as encouraging policy change,” Smith said. “I think by being the unhealthiest county in Ohio, I think that gives us, almost a right to petition for help from the state.”
Smith acknowledged that some of the priorities of the plan are very ambitious.
“When your last you’ve got to work very hard and you’ve got to try new things. It may be ambitious for one group but, this is a coalition made up of a lot of agencies and groups, so we can do a lot of things,” Smith said.
For more information about the coalition or to view a copy of the plan visit, www.sciotohealth.org.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.