Under the guidance of Dr. Nancy Welch, the Chesapeake Health Department Director, a discussion began in late summer 2015 with representatives from the City, Health Department, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center on the best approach to address the declining health conditions in our community. This working group invited agencies and service providers to an event on September 16, 2015 to determine if there was buy-in for the development of a community coalition.
With an overview of our challenges and opportunities presented by Dr. Welch and a rousing speech encouraging the focus on these issues given by Mayor Alan Krasnoff, the Healthy Chesapeake initiative was officially launched. The launch was followed by an intensive retreat on November 20, 2015 for agencies, businesses, and citizens who wanted to participate in this new community initiative. The group established guiding tenants including the vision, mission, and values for the Healthy Chesapeake Coalition.
A second planning retreat was held on January 29, 2016, where work continued on the Coalition’s strategic plan, laying the ground-work for what eventually became a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) to provide strategic direction for the Coalition’s efforts to improve health. Four work teams are meeting regularly to devise and implement community based activities. For more information, please read about each program in our focus area.
Simultaneous to the development of the Coalition has been the creation of Healthy Chesapeake, Inc., a 501(c)3 that operates in support of the Coalition and other partners, programs, initiatives, etc. The Board meets monthly and is taking an active role in the development and direction of Healthy Chesapeake.
Values / Philosophy
Healthy Chesapeake embraces the philosophy that there are many factors that affect an individual’s health. We will focus on the four key factors that are used to determine our community health as measured by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These four key areas (determinants) include:
- Health Behaviors
- Clinical Care
- Social and Economic
- Physical Environment
This ideology has been recognized both nationally and internationally, and is commonly labeled the social determinants of health. The belief that these social determinants are factors that must all be addressed is an important tenant for the program development and implementation of Healthy Chesapeake. Working with our Coalition partners, under the guidance of our Board, we are committed to leading the effort to address the challenges that we have in these focus areas. We are starting out by focusing on Active Lifestyles, Healthy Eating, Behavioral Health, and an Ambassador program to ensure that we work within our initial capacity. As we grow our Coalition and other resources, we will expand into working within the other key areas. It’s very important that we work collaboratively to ensure that Chesapeake will be a city where all its citizens have access to transportation, safety, health, food, housing, and recreation that provides them with the opportunity to make healthy choices.
Additionally, Healthy Chesapeake, Inc. will operate in a participatory manner, where diverse groups work collaboratively to drive priorities that reflect local values, and with a comprehensive view of health that incorporates the various elements of community life so that community members may pursue the best health possible. Our priority is working with people and neighborhoods that are at the highest ranking within the 2014 Neighborhood Quality of Life Study. These neighborhoods and residents are typically experiencing higher levels of poverty, lower home ownership, higher crime, and/or other economic challenges. While our goal is to work city-wide, these neighborhoods will be among the highest for priority assistance by our Coalition.
Assist Chesapeake in becoming the Healthiest City in the Healthiest State in accordance with the following objectives.
- Create a Comprehensive Healthy Community Action Plan (CAP) that will address the social determinant challenges as identified by recent assessments and establish our Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).
- Facilitate collaborations and provide resources for citizens, government, businesses, and non-profit agencies that are working to provide ideas, actions, and solutions to health and quality of life issues addressed in the Community Action Plan.
- Document and disseminate best practices for local consideration and provide awareness of services, programs, and other activities supporting a healthy Chesapeake.
- Analyze effectiveness and report outcomes of projects, initiatives, and efforts, etc. undertaken in Chesapeake through support from Healthy Chesapeake.