What is the Indiana Healthy Community Initiative?
The Indiana Healthy Communities Initiative is an “evidence-based collaboration process designed to help communities focus on implementing and sustaining a culture of well-being to spur economic vitality.” When assessing communities that have applied for this designation, the Wellness Council of Indiana (WCI) looks for six key components: community understanding, data-driven decisions, leadership & advocacy, collective vision & action, citizen involvement, and effective communication.
Once a community is selected for the initiative by the WCI, they help local leaders assess current programs, services, and infrastructure as well as use data from the assessment and other sources to determine community needs. They also assist key stakeholders in developing a Healthy Community Action Plan with goals and objectives, and in turn, the communities can gain recognition for the steps they take to improve overall wellness and quality of life for their residents.
How did Hancock County become an Indiana Healthy Community?
Hancock County joined the Indiana Healthy Communities initiative in September 2016, alongside Delaware County, as the inaugural class of designees. As of now, there are seven Indiana Healthy Communities (typically connected to a local county) out of 92 total counties in the Hoosier state.
Once the IHC assessment is completed and submitted by an applicant, the WCI returns a summary of their findings in a Healthy Community Scorecard. Next, a Healthy Community Action Plan is started in collaboration with the community and WCI, including a vision statement. Our community vision is “Promoting health, happiness and wholeness in Hancock County.”
What programs make Hancock County so healthy?
Although Indiana’s health ranks low overall within our nation, Hancock County ranks fifth in the state of Indiana, thanks in large part to the IHC initiative and other programs pursued by Hancock Health. Our local Hancock Regional Hospital holds an A-rating for hospital safety from The Leapfrog Group, and their convenient Gateway Lab locations offer affordable and accessible blood tests/screenings, CT scans, MRI scans, x-rays, ultrasounds and immediate care.
Hancock Wellness Centers provide three Hancock County locations for individual workouts, fitness classes, personal training, plus wellness education, nutrition management and massage therapy. And Hancock Health also focuses on more than just physical health, with their Healthy365 program offering residents a confidential listening ear and connections to local mental health and substance misuse resources.
The beautiful nature of Hancock County itself even encourages an active lifestyle, with a number of local outdoor preserves and parks offering trails to walk or bike and spots for families to play together. And if you’re more of a city dweller than a nature lover, go take a walk in downtown Greenfield to take in the small shops and historical markers for a wellness experience you won’t soon forget.
Learn more about the Wellness Council of Indiana by visiting https://www.wellnessindiana.org/.