Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 22

SPECIAL FOCUS: COUNTIES SHINE MAKING STRIDES FOR HEALTHY C MMUNI IES Counties use multiple resources to implement wellness initiatives By Rebecca McCarthy NANCY THRASH was sitting in a classroom at the ACCG office in Fulton County, taking notes as experts talked about various ways for improving communities and creating healthy workforces. She suddenly felt a firestorm of realization in her brain, and she wanted nothing more than to run out of the room. She wanted to speed as fast as she could down U.S. 41, back to Lamar County, where she is the vice chair of the county commission, and to get started with her fellow officials to implement the many ideas she had heard during the education session. If the health and well-being of county employees-and county residents overall-could be improved, there would be no end to the benefits, she believed. "I kept thinking, 'We can do that! We can make it work!'" said Thrash. "I was really excited by what they were saying." Thrash was one of many commissioners who attended the health and wellness education class offered in ACCG's Life Long Learning Academy. Director Carol Baker says the class, offered for the first time in February 2015, will likely be on the list of courses again in 2017. Classes are typically repeated every two years. "The information really resonated with our members," said Baker. The presenters explained the health statistics of the individual counties of participating commissioners and compared them to the rest of the state. They also considered case studies of successful wellness programs in Georgia. A good deal of attention, Baker noted, was focused on county employees and on how commissioners could encourage their employees to improve their health. "There are advantages beyond dollars in having a healthy workforce and a healthy community," she said. "It becomes an economic development factor, and it helps with the overall cost of running your county efficiently." One of those responsible for the six-hour course was University of Georgia's Deborah Murray, associate dean for Extension and Outreach in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. She said the course was a year in the making, and was collaboration between UGA partners, risk management professionals and county commissioners. One aim was to "demystify the health status of the individual counties, looking at health factors and health outcomes," she said. "County commissioners are dealing with healthcare costs in their counties, and it reduces the healthcare costs if you can reduce the susceptibility to chronic conditions and disease, like hypertension and diabetes." Murray wanted the course to explain where the health data came from for each county and to help participants identify local resources and things they could do to improve their communities at little or no cost. The Walk Georgia program, an online tracking program administered by UGA and supported by its partner, the Coca-Cola Foundation, offers a free and fun way for people to set goals for distance walking and to log their exercise. A fun time was had by all at the 2nd Annual Community Youth Expo! As a part of Walk Georgia, Lamar County 4-H had a "fun course". Photo courtesy of Walk Georgia. 22 GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Summer 2016

President’s Message
Director’s Desk
Cover Story: Growth and Opportunity in Elbert County
Georgia Counties Get Results in ACCG’s Policy Areas
Insights from Georgia’s Congressman Lynn Westmoreland
Making Strides for Healthy Communities
Preparing for the Zika Virus in Georgia
Georgia Public Libraries Shine
Counties Emerge into the Digital Age
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover1
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover2
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 4
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 5
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 6
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 7
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - President’s Message
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Director’s Desk
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Cover Story: Growth and Opportunity in Elbert County
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 11
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 12
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 13
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 14
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 15
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Georgia Counties Get Results in ACCG’s Policy Areas
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 17
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 18
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 19
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Insights from Georgia’s Congressman Lynn Westmoreland
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 21
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Making Strides for Healthy Communities
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 23
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 24
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 25
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Preparing for the Zika Virus in Georgia
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 27
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Georgia Public Libraries Shine
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 29
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 30
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 31
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Counties Emerge into the Digital Age
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 33
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 34
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 35
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 36
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - News & Notes
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover4
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