5th Annual Health Policy Summit: Connections Between Policies, Built Environment & Health
How can we build a community that thrives?
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“Design more opportunities for physical activity,” according to Mark Fenton, nationally-recognized expert in public health planning and transportation and a keynote speaker at the 5th Annual Southwestern Illinois Health Policy Summit, which will be held on November 7.
“Communities that support physical activity not only see a positive impact on residents’ health,” says Fenton, “but on the local economy and environment.” Fenton’s presentation will address the need for community, environmental, and public policy initiatives to encourage more walking, biking, and public transit use.
The second keynote speaker at the Summit, Paul Zientarski, will share his successful experience with Learning Readiness Physical Education (LRPE), which has led to dramatic improvements in standardized test scores, student behavior, and childhood obesity for students in the Napverville School District in Naperville, Illinois.
About the Health Policy Summit
The 5th Annual Southwestern Illinois Health Policy Summit promises to bring together local health leaders, policymakers, and professionals as they continue to work together to build healthier communities. Formerly called the St. Clair County Health Policy Summit, this year’s Summit reflects recognition of regional efforts by St. Clair, Madison, and Monroe Counties to create healthier communities.
The Health Policy Summit will be held on Thursday, November 7 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Lindenwood University in Belleville. The Summit will kick-off with welcomes from local health leaders and policymakers. Morning presentations by the two keynote speakers will lead into the first breakout session. Breakout sessions focus on Complete Streets, Coordinated School Health, Safe Routes to School, physical activity, and bicycle safety.
On the way to the included lunch at Fischer’s Restaurant, teams of attendees will conduct “walk audits” to assess the safety of the walking environment. This is done by noting deficiencies such as missing sidewalks or curb ramps, obstacles, and dangerous street crossings. The second breakout session and concluding remarks will occur in the afternoon.
For the first time, Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) are being offered for professional engineers, teachers, school administrators, LEED AP/Green Associates, and nurses.
The cost of the Summit for professionals is $35 plus an additional $10 for nurses seeking contact hours for continuing education. The first 50 students are able to pay a special reduced cost of $20. Remaining students will pay the regular price of admission.
To register for the Summit: Registrations must be received by November 1. Go to www.getupgo.info and complete the online registration process using PayPal. You can also register by mail by sending a check payable to Get Up & Go! to 19 Public Square, Suite 150, Belleville, IL, 62220.
Who Should Attend?
- City Leaders
- Municipal Planners and Engineers
- Parks, Street, and Transportation Professionals
- Teachers and School Administrators
- Health and Wellness Professionals
Congrats to the Cup Challenge Winners
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Congratulations to the 2012-2013 Get Up & Go! Cup Challenge
Kristie Wells came in first place with 171 points, Kathi White came in second place with 129 points, and Jan Daker came in third place with 102 points! We were honored to acknowledge and award our first and second place winners with their own Cup Challenge trophies at the Get Up & Go! Biathlon on August 4.
The 2012- 2013 Cup Challenge Winners
The winners and all the participants showed genuine dedication to fitness by participating and placing in multiple running and biking events throughout St. Clair County during the 2012-2013 season.
Get Up & Go! would especially like to thank the Biathlon Committee for their hard work. Proceeds from this event help to fund the Get Up & Go! Healthy Community Fund, which will be used to offer small, start-up grants for local health projects.
We Choose Health Updates
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Complete Streets are designed and built for every user – drivers, bikers, walkers, transit riders, older adults and people of all abilities. There is no “one size fits all” definition of what is included in a Complete Street. It may include sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, slowing traffic, curb extensions, and more.
Six communities in St. Clair County have passed Complete Street Resolutions stating they will look into incorporating Complete Street elements as part of future transportation projects. A Complete Streets policy doesn’t mean every street will have bicycle or pedestrian facilities, but it does mean that streets will accommodate all users where practical and economically feasible.
Get Up & Go! is pleased to share these communities’ commitment to Complete Streets:
- City of Belleville
- City of Fairview Heights
- Village of Freeburg
- City of Mascoutah
- Village of Shiloh
- Village of Smithton
Coordinated School Health Programs
Over the past year, the We Choose Health team has provided support to local schools as they organize school health/wellness councils comprised of faculty, staff, parents, and community members. We’ve assisted them in completing the CDC’s School Health Index and meet with them to develop a Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) that focuses on creating conditions that will support the health and wellness of each student. Supporting the well-being of faculty, staff, and families are also given consideration in the CSHP. Doing so helps to promote the continuity of a supportive, healthy environment for students.
We’re also training faculty, staff, and parents to implement a school-wide, evidence-based program that encourages physical activity and healthy eating. To assist schools with meeting this goal, we are conducting training in the Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH) program. CATCH is designed to help schools deliver a consistent message that encourages healthy eating, regular physical activity, and avoidance of tobacco products.
The program considers eight aspects that affect the lives of the children. These include family and community, comprehensive school health education, school nutrition services, school health services, physical education, counseling, psychological and social services, a healthy school environment, and health promotion for school personnel.
School Health & Safety Demonstration Project Sites – Year One Schools
- Abraham Lincoln Elementary School
- Belleville East High School
- Belleville West High School
- Central Junior High School
- Douglas Elementary School
- Emge Elementary School
- Freeburg Elementary School
- Freeburg Junior High School
- Grant/Illini CCSD #110 Schools
- Henry Raab Elementary School
- Huffman Elementary School
- James Avant Elementary School
- Lebanon Elementary School
- Lebanon High School
- O'Fallon Township High School
- Pathways Center
- Pontiac Middle School
- Roosevelt Elementary School
- St. Libory School
- Signal Hill School
- Smithton Elementary
- St. John the Baptist
- West Junior High School
- Westhaven Elementary School
- Whiteside Elementary School
- William Holiday Elementary School
Pleasant Hill: The Newest Get Up & Go! Neighborhood
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In a little neighborhood called Pleasant Hill in the center of Belleville, good things are happening. There’s a small park that, just a few months ago, was but an empty field. The neighborhood association approached the City of Belleville with ideas to help make the park an “active park” rather than passive green space.
The City, having similar goals but limited resources, welcomed the ideas. The park sits right next to a Senior Citizens Center and this makes the “active park” concept even more attractive.
Residents of the Pleasant Hill Neighborhood
Numerous groups – led by some very motivated neighbors and an ambitious Eagle Scout – converged on the space and created a park. They included several faith-based groups who involved youth from all over the country, local Boy Scouts, the YMCA, Belleville AmeriCorps, city representatives, and of course, more neighbors. Local businesses contributed some resources.
Once complete, the park will include a labyrinth- like walking trail and exercise stations. The neighborhood has also given time and effort to a local food pantry. This has earned them the distinction of being the next Get Up and Go! Neighborhood. Congratulations to all the residents of Pleasant Hill!
Community Spotlight: The O'Fallon Community Garden
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The State Street Community Garden, located at the corner of East State and North Smiley Streets in O’Fallon, is a beautiful example of how healthy living and healthy eating can benefit an entire community.
One mild summer morning in July, two members of the O’Fallon Garden Club took us on a tour of the State Street Community Garden. Bob Winkler and Sterling Garnto are both Master Gardeners who regularly volunteer at the garden.
Partners working together
The garden exists because of collaboration between the O’Fallon Garden Club, the City of O’Fallon, O’Fallon Parks and Recreation, and the University of Illinois Extension Services.
“This used to be a trailer lot,” says Sterling. “About three years ago, the O’Fallon Garden Club had the opportunity to renovate it all. O’Fallon Parks and Recreation brought in the soil, compost, mulch, and we provided the labor to put all this in and did the planting. We put in all the trees. Wood chips were donated to us.”
Although the City of O’Fallon owns the garden, O’Fallon Parks and Recreation and the O’Fallon Garden Club maintain it. They count 15-20 Master Gardeners among their members. After going through educational training, Master Gardeners are required to volunteer 30 hours each year to maintain their certification by the University of Illinois Extension Services, and working in the garden helps them to meet that requirement.
How their garden grows
O’Fallon Parks and Recreation leases empty garden plots for $20 a growing season. The garden even has raised, handicapped-accessible garden plots. All of the available plots were leased for the 2013 growing season.
Water is provided on-site, and gardeners do their own weeding. It takes about five volunteers every day to do the weeding, planting and watering. A message board, built by Bob and other members of the O’Fallon Garden Club last winter, allows the gardeners to easily communicate with each other.
In addition to the tidy rows of plots, there are other spaces dedicated to growing: a garden entrance, a bench surrounded by a butterfly garden where visitors can sit and enjoy the surroundings, a wagon filled with colorful flowers, a border of sunflowers and marigolds that lines the garden plots.
“We do organic gardening as much as possible,” Bob explained, “but we do use some chemicals. We use integrated pest management, which means to find out what the problem is before you treat it and then treat it as minimally as possible. We use as few chemicals as possible.”
It’s not always easy
When asked about the garden’s biggest challenges, Bob and Sterling didn’t have to think too hard.
“Mother Nature is always the biggest challenge,” Bob said. “Last year was the drought, this year was the rain.”
Sterling chimes in. “For example, this week it’s dry and to water around the flowers takes 2 hours. We need to do it at least three times a week to get an inch of water on the ground. Getting the weeds out also takes time.”
And like many community groups, the O’Fallon Garden Club has a small budget and tries to make do with what they have. That hasn’t slowed down Bob and Sterling, however. “Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a problem, it’s just a challenge,” says Bob.
Despite the challenges, both Bob and Sterling are pleased with the garden’s second growing season and are already anticipating next year’s garden. “Perennial plants sit there the first year, grow a little bit the second year, explode the third year,” Sterling comments.
Feeding a community
An important part of the mission of the State Street Community Garden is to donate part of every harvest to the O’Fallon Community Food Pantry. The food pantry provides food to residents of the 62269 ZIP code, which includes both O’Fallon and Shiloh.
Fresh produce is expensive. Many people, especially those who rely on food pantries for their groceries, don’t eat fresh fruits and vegetables because they cannot afford them. Donations of produce from the State Street Community Garden help to ensure that everyone in the community has access to homegrown fruits and vegetables.
The O’Fallon Garden Club has plots dedicated to growing food for the Food Pantry, and also asks that individual plots donate 10% of their harvest. They make deliveries twice a week. Last year, they donated just over 2,000 lbs of produce!
The community’s garden
There’s one thing that Bob and Sterling want to emphasize: This is the community’s garden.
Bob smiles when he says, “This is O’Fallon’s garden. It’s a place for people to come and enjoy what’s been done here. There’s a nice place down in the shade for people to sit and watch the flowers grow, watch the bees interact with the flowers. Bring your kids down and let them see.” There’s even a picnic table in the shade for visitors to use.
“We encourage people to come out and walk through and look at it, ask questions,” agrees Sterling. “A lot of us are master gardeners. When I’m walking through the flower garden, people will ask me questions: ‘What flower is that? I’ve got a garden at home, what should I plant? They ask about bugs, that type of thing. We give advice.’” They also educate kids’ groups about gardening.
They invite everyone in the community to help them take care of the garden, or just come out and enjoy it. For Bob and Sterling, the State Street Community Garden gives them a chance to give back to their community.
Bob shared that he retired about a year and a half ago and wanted to raise vegetables for the food pantry. “The O’Fallon Garden Club gave me that opportunity, and gives nutritious food where it’s needed. We raise awareness that people here are doing something to make this spot a little brighter.”
It’s easy to see that they’re proud of the comments they get from visitors and passersby. “People in the community appreciate the garden, and they tell us,” Sterling says.
But people aren’t the only ones who appreciate the garden. Visitors to the garden can’t miss the bees buzzing through the flower gardens and the birds that live in the staked birdhouses throughout the garden. If you look closely, you may even see the resident groundhog. “We also have rabbits but they’re not welcome!” says Sterling.
About the O’Fallon Garden Club
The O’Fallon Garden Club invites anyone who’s interested to become a member. About half of their members are retired, and one-third are Master Gardeners. There are younger members as well. The Landscape Committee, which maintains the State Street Garden, also maintains parts of the Family Sports Park and the O’Fallon roundabouts. They meet once a month and usually have a guest speaker who talks about gardening topics.
Metro East Air Forum
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The Third Annual Metro East Air and Health Forum was on Friday, October 18. Municipal leaders and representatives from some of the region’s key civic, healthcare and environmental organizations gathered at the Caseyville Community Center to discuss the impacts of air quality on health and ways to help area residents breathe easier. The event also showcased the key organizations in the region that continue to work toward improving regional and local air quality through various health and sustainability initiatives.
The event kicked off with a special keynote address from Dr. William Kincaid, MD, MPH, St. Louis University Professor of Health Management and Policy, who discussed asthma as a critical public health issue. The keynote address was followed by a summary of the 2013 ozone season presented by Mike Coulson, Environmental Services Manager for East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
Other topics addressed during the event included the purpose and use of ozone gardens that have been developed in multiple locations in the region, future trends in transportation and air quality, the use of solar energy in the Midwest, and the indoor air quality risks of radon gas and ways to reduce exposure to radon.
The forum was highlighted by a special presentation of awards to two Metro East communities and two Metro East schools, recognizing the steps being taken by each to help improve regional air quality. Those honored were the Cities of Edwardsville and Granite City, as well as Marie Schaefer Elementary School, located in O’Fallon, Ill., and Belleville East High School.
“As our region continues to struggle with poor air quality, our goal in hosting the third annual Metro East Air & Health Forum was to demonstrate the many ways poor air quality can affect the health of area residents, and to unite the many individuals, organizations and municipalities in the region that are leading the charge in helping the region breathe easier,” said Amy Funk, Air Project Specialist with University of Illinois and representative of the Metro East Community Air Project.
“We were thrilled with this year’s attendance and appreciate everyone’s ongoing support of this event. We also congratulate the 2013 award winners and applaud them for the many amazing steps they are taking to help improve air quality in the region.”
To learn more about the third annual Metro East Air & Health Forum, email Amy Funk at email@example.com.
Apples with Peanut Butter Maple Dip
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It's apple season, so here’s an easy and healthy dip to enjoy with the bounty of the season. There’s a
whopping 18 grams of protein in the dip (unlike caramel dip). This is actually more satisfying and refreshing!
Your favorite type of apple slices, for dipping (Granny Smith apples work well)
6 oz. nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt (such as Chobani Greek Yogurt)
1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
½ Tbsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Stir all of the ingredients together and enjoy dipping your apple slices.
Submitted by Kathy Knox, PE Teacher for District 118