Public health stakeholders in Pinellas County convened the Community Health Action Team (CHAT) in 2012 to serve as a steering committee for local health improvement planning. CHAT examined data and feedback gathered from Pinellas County residents as part of the 2012 Community Health Assessment to identify how the community can work together to improve health. Several priority areas emerged: access to care, behavioral health, health promotion & disease prevention, and healthy communities & environments. CHAT members and additional community stakeholders formulated goals, strategies, and objectives to address each of these priority areas, as well as action plans outlining specific activities to achieve objectives. Together, these documents make up the 2012-2017 Pinellas County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The Healthy Pinellas Consortium convened in 2013 to oversee two of the CHIP priority areas: health promotion and disease prevention and healthy communities & environments. The Consortium focuses on policy and environmental changes that help reduce obesity and chronic disease by making safe physical activity and nutritious foods accessible to all residents. Members include local and state government, non-profits, private businesses, and community advocates who are interested in collaborating to make Pinellas a healthier place to live.
While the Consortium only recently convened formally, Consortium partners have collaborated for years to implement similar approaches under grants including Steps to a Healthier US and Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW). Both projects involved improving population-level health outcomes through effective education, promotion, and information technology. HPC members and DOH-Pinellas led the Steps and CPPW programs in creating a cross-disciplinary team of schools, healthcare providers, and community and faith-based leaders that aimed to improve population-level outcomes through a focus on communities most burdened by chronic disease. Examples of evidence and practice-based approaches for physical activity and nutrition implemented by Consortium partners include healthy vending policies, healthy meeting guidelines, worksite compliance with lactation accommodation laws, and informational outreach promoting county walking and biking trails.
The Healthy Pinellas Consortium looks forward to building upon these successes, and welcomes anyone who has a passion for innovative approaches to community health and wellness.