On Feb. 8, Tarrant County Public Health kicked off a community-driven process to make the county healthier by prioritizing public health issues and identifying resources to address them. The process used for this effort is referred to as Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP). “The MAPP approach has successfully been used nationally to help communities map a better future for their residents,” said Lou Brewer , TCPH director. “It’s a proven system that we believe will be effective in tackling key health and resource issues in our community.”
At the kick-off, business, community and neighborhood leaders, academicians and health officials learned how the MAPP approach can be used in Tarrant County to accomplish shared health goals. Dr. Eduardo J. Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, and the current chair of the National Commission on Prevention Priorities, served as keynote speaker for the meeting.
According to Sanchez, “...it’s not just about doctors writing prescriptions, it’s about creating an environment where being healthy is easier than not being healthy.” He also said that includes elimination of so-called food deserts – areas without a grocery store, but plenty of fast food and convenience stores, and he called on employers to pay more attention to things that can create healthier workers, because healthier workers are more productive.
Larry Tubb, senior vice president at Cook Children’s Medical Center, who also was a guest speaker, noted that major health concerns facing Tarrant County, such as diabetes and heart disease, haven’t changed in years. “That tells me that no one organization has the resources or talent to make a difference,” he said. “So we have to do it in collaboration to move the needle forward.”
In a follow-up training meeting in March, guest-speaker John McKnight, author and professor emeritus of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, spoke to attendees and shared his unique perspectives on social services delivery systems, health policy, community organizations and neighborhood policy. McKnight is the Co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute in Illinois and currently directs research projects focused on asset-based neighborhood development and methods of community building.
Continue to check these MAPP web pages for more information and the latest updates.
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