Improving health, one day at a time: Healthy Jackson County welcomes new coordinator

The Healthy Jackson County coalition recently gathered to recap action plans, discuss future opportunities and celebrate accomplishments of the work groups.

A new county ambassador also was welcomed aboard.

Susan Zabor, vice president of clinical services at Schneck Medical Center, welcomed attendees to the meeting and introduced Bethany Daugherty as the new key contact for the Healthy Jackson County initiative. She also is a health and wellness education specialist at Schneck.

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“Bethany will be the one to contact for any communication you want to get out to the HJC distribution list,” Zabor said. “I am super excited for Bethany to join us and help to drive us even further forward.”

Daugherty was assigned the position after the previous coordinator, Joanah Wischmeier, resigned from her position at Schneck Medical Center to accept a new opportunity.

“The formation of Healthy Jackson County is a giant step forward in impacting Jackson County’s ranking,” Daugherty said. “It provides a forum for community partners from all sectors to network, brainstorm and collaborate together.”

Zabor gave a report on Jackson County’s health rankings and reported that for overall health outcomes, the county has made progress from 2015 through 2019.

“There’s a nice downward trend line, and in this case, lower is better in this regard,” Zabor said. “We were ranked 65th in 2015 and have moved to the 55th position in 2019, and that’s out of 92 counties in the state of Indiana.”

She said when you look at our county health rankings model, health outcomes can be a result of policies and programs and also health factors.

“There are four buckets that really drive what our future could look like in Jackson County,” Zabor said.

They are health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment, she said.

Zabor said health behaviors is where she feels the coalition can make the most impact.

She said smoking, obesity and physical activity are areas where the county has the most opportunity, which has driven the creation of the work groups.

Work group reports were given at the meeting by Zabor, Tyler Henkle and John Doriot, addressing future events and activities to help work on increasing physical activity, improving nutrition and decreasing tobacco use in our county.

Henkle talked about several possible events that could help increase physical activity, including a guided hike series to take place this fall. He said hikes are set for Sept. 22, Oct. 13 and Nov. 3 at Jackson-Washington State Forest in Brownstown.

Also coming up is Fit for Fun Fridays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. today, July 12 and Aug. 2 at Crossroads Community Park in downtown Seymour.

“It will be for individuals and families who would like to be taught how to use equipment at the fitness court,” Henkle said. “It won’t be anything intense, just some fun physical activity to get people up and moving.”

He said other events under discussion include plogging (jogging and picking up trash) and adult recesses at the fitness park from June through October, offering fun activities and healthy food vendors.

With an update from the nutrition work group, Doriot shared information pertaining to improvements and changes being implemented in Jackson County to help encourage healthier eating habits.

“Girls Inc. of Jackson County continues to provide healthy snacks in the concession stands,” Doriot said. “Also, Marcia Monroe offers a project on how to plant and grow produce. She plans to offer the garden project again this summer for Girls Inc.”

Other more recent initiatives include Medora Community Schools offering healthy concession snacks; a second-chance breakfast put in place at Seymour High School; and a dietitian intern who helped with a fitness program at Brownstown Elementary School. A Healthy Jackson County food drive is being planned.

“A fueling station is being discussed for high school students also,” Doriot said. “A cooler will be donated by Prairie Farms, but funds would be needed to supply the milk and snacks.”

Fueling stations are usually located near athletic practice facilities and provide access to food and drinks for athletes helping them maximize their energy, performance and recovery.

Finally, Zabor said the work group for decreasing tobacco use has been gathering statistics on the facts and dangers of vaping.

“The statistics are staggering of the amount of young people using vaping Juuls and e-cigarettes,” Zabor said. “There has been a double-digit increase in nicotine use in the past three years.”

Zabor said an application has been submitted to the state department of health for a tobacco capacity grant. The two-year grant is designed to help decrease tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

The work groups meet on a quarterly basis, and the main coalition gathers twice a year. The next coalition meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 6 at Schneck Medical Center.

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Who: Bethany L. Daugherty, new key contact for the Healthy Jackson County initiative.

Education: Bachelor of Science degree in food science and human nutrition from the University of Illinois and a masters degree in nutrition science from Purdue University.

Residence: She grew up in central Illinois and has lived in Indiana for 11 years and currently lives in Seymour.

Occupation: Bethany started working at Schenck in 2015. Prior to that, she worked for Purdue Cooperative Extension in Lawrence County and held group classes about healthy cooking, weight loss and health in general.

Contact: [email protected]

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Jackson County health behaviors

Year;smoking;obesity;physical inactivity








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