Public health projects win national awards

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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Clark County Public Health received three awards this week from the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

The county received two Model Practice Awards and one Promising Practice Award.

Award applications for the annual competition were peer-reviewed by public health professionals from other communities.

Clark County's health impact assessment for active transportation received a Model Practice Award. Public health conducted a health impact assessment on the county's bicycle and pedestrian master plan, helping to prioritize projects and maximize opportunities for physical activity.

The project focused on people at risk, including low-income families, minorities, children and adults older than 65.

The other Model Practice Award winner was the county's prenatal patient navigator. Public health is addressing barriers to prenatal care, helping pregnant women navigate health care systems and linking them to community resources and services.

The Promising Practice Award went to the county's geocoded database for measuring neighborhood food access. Health assessment staff inventoried food outlets and categorized them by food options to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in the county's food system.

For example, about 41 percent of county residents live within 1/2 mile of a fast food restaurant or convenience store, but only 17 percent live that close to a grocery store.

"We are honored to be recognized by our peers," said John Wiesman, Clark County Public Health director. "I am very proud of our staff for demonstrating excellence in public health and thank them for their innovation, hard work and commitment to improving health in our community."

For more information about Clark County Public Health, visit http://www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/index.asp.