Workshop on healthy living slated

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

National, state leaders coming to Monett

Monett will be the site of a community Healthy Places for Healthy People Workshop on Oct. 17 and 18, one of only 10 places in the nation selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a special program focusing on technical assistance to promote healthy lifestyles.

Workshops will be held in the Events Center at the Monett Museum, 418 E. Broadway. The community meeting will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Oct. 17, followed by an action planning workshop from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 18.

Reservations will be needed to assist with preparations and may be made by calling Shawn Hayden at 417-236-2593.

Hayden, who works with Cox Monett Hospital on the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities grant through the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH), said Monett was likely considered for the grant funding the project because of its work with MFH.

“This builds on everything we’ve been doing,” Hayden said. “This is a broad spectrum approach and hits on all of what we’re trying to do.”

Specifically the workshop plans to focus on five areas:

• Creating a culture of physical activity by investing in trails and walkable streets, encouraging walking and biking and incorporating health into public policy.

• Selecting “lighter, quicker, cheaper” improvements for downtown Monett. These include bringing more people together and drawing both attention and investment through community-led improvements.

• Creating an annual event around health and wellness downtown. Such an activity would increase awareness of the community, promote tourism and broaden community engagement.

• Broadening community engagement by increasing involvement by key stakeholders and disadvantaged areas through participating in projects that create a healthier community.

• Attracting more workers to live in Monett who presently commute by having a clear vision supported by community branding, promotion and policies.

To assist in this effort, EPA representatives from Kansas City and Washington, D.C. will attend the session, along with a representative of the Missouri Hospital Association from Jefferson City and the program support director from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Columbia. State and elected officials will also be invited.

“We’ve made a lot of progress, creating access to physical activity and healthy food, creating a culture for that,” Hayden said. “We’re hoping to get lots of suggestions on what we can do to help the community. Everyone’s voice counts.”

The workshop will include presentations on how to build healthier communities, economic development and the roles that health and healthcare partners can play in supporting both. There will be small group activities and discussions on the community’s vision and goals as part of creating an action plan for moving forward.

Hayden pointed out Monett is the smallest city in the nation selected for such a program, and the only one in the Midwest west of the Mississippi River, making this a unique opportunity to tap distant resources.

“This is a great opportunity for Monett and CoxHealth to build on what the Missouri Foundation for Health has allowed us to do,” he said. “It ties in with the economic aspect of how having a healthy community allows you to grow. This is a goal the city wants. We’ve had the city council and [City Administrator] Dennis [Pyle] on board. They’ve been nothing but helpful.”

The final session will hold discussions on health and community livability, hold group work sessions and networking that will result in a community action plan.

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