Rio Rancho Observer
By Observer Staff
PUBLISHED: September 15, 2016

Sandoval Health Collaborative has been selected as one of 50 members of the HealthyCommunity50 in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge to receive a $10,000 community seed award.

By participating in the challenge, Sandoval County is in the running to receive an initial prize to support its local program.

The challenge, a partnership of the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties, launched in April during National Public Health Week. It will award $1.5 million in prizes to small and mid-sized cities, counties and federally-recognized tribes that are able to show measurable change over the course of several years working with cross-sector partnerships to implement health innovations and data-driven solutions.

Hundreds of city governments, local municipalities, health departments, educational institutions and other public/private entities applied to be a part of the challenge.

The HealthyCommunity50 were chosen based on plans to improve the health of their communities in at least one of five domains: Healthy behaviors, community safety, built environment, social/economic factors and environmental exposures.

Through the challenge, Sandoval Health Collaborative hopes to help children and families adopt healthy behaviors.

“Our local goal is to engage children and their families in taking ownership of their health to help reduce growing trends of obesity and diabetes,” said Richard Draper, program manager for the collaborative.

Draper said the collaborative’s 10×10 health booklet project is the centerpiece of the effort. The booklet initially will be distributed to about 1,700 first-graders throughout the county to take home to their families to inform them about the county’s health resources.

The collaborative was formed last year to provide better health care opportunities and bring health care jobs to Sandoval County. It includes the two hospitals in the county – Presbyterian Rust Medical Center and the UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center – Lovelace Westside Hospital, CNM, UNM West, Sandoval Economic Alliance, Rio Rancho and Bernalillo school districts, Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce, Unser Gateway Coalition and Presbyterian Medical Services.

“Through the Sandoval Health Collaborative, we have demonstrated that by working together, we can explore new ideas, from a variety of stakeholders, for improving the health of our community”, said Jamie Silva-Steele, collaborative co-chair and CEO and president of UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center.

“We are honored to be one of 50 organizations selected for the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge,” said Angela Ward, collaborative co-chair and campus administrator at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center. “Healthcare today is increasingly complex— one of our goals at the Sandoval Health Collaborative is to help local residents navigate this difficult landscape. This award will help fund our efforts to improve health literacy and increase healthy outcomes for Sandoval County families.”

All selected HealthyCommunity50 members will be visited by an expert judge panel to answer questions, understand the community’s approach to the project first-hand and speak with the members of the cross-sector team and key stakeholders.

At the conclusion of the challenge, the programs most able to show measurable change will be eligible for prize awards from $25,000 to $500,000.

Participants will be judged on their own progress and will not be competing against each other. For more information, visit healthiestcities.org.

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