Healthy communities are at the heart of our work. In 2016, CONNECT passed our first health related Resolution, encouraging our members to become “Live Well Allegheny” (LWA) by indicating their intent to work with the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) to accomplish the goals of the campaign by identifying action steps to take to promote health in their municipality.
What preceded the passing of this resolution was the development of a newly-formed partnership between CONNECT and the Allegheny County Health Department and the establishment of a Health Policy working group.
This working group, which is comprised of representatives of CONNECT, the ACHD, the Department of Human Services, the Center for Emergency Medicine at UPMC, the Allegheny County Health Network, and the Allegheny County EMS Council has met twice in 2016 to discuss a variety of health-related issues.
Erica Bryson and Hannah Hardy of the Allegheny County Health Department presented at CONNECT's November 2016 Executive Committee meeting to give a LWA update, and to provide CONNECT members with the LWA: Menu of Action Steps for Municipalities. The resource sheet provides model ordinances and examples of how some communities are addressing tobacco prevention, nutrition, physical activity, and land use with helpful links.
The Opioid Epidemic
As the Opioid Epidemic in Western Pa continues to worsen, CONNECT convened a Health Working Group Meeting with representatives from the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and our partners from the Emergency Medical Services field who helped us launch the CONNECT Community Paramedic Program to discuss and assess the role that local governments can play in combatting the opioid/heroin crisis in our region.
The energetic discussion brought about the consensus for the need for a list of actionable steps that municipalities can take to help fight this epidemic. In the short-term, CONNECT is working to produce this document that will serve as a toolkit for municipalities that are interested in collaborating with partner agencies. However, CONNECT sees the development of a longer-term strategy where we serve as a partner to agencies that are fighting this epidemic every day. Stay tuned as CONNECT continues to take steps towards equipping our members to effectively handle this issue.
The Allegheny County Department of Human Services and the Allegheny County Health Department researched and published a full report in July 2016 on Opiate-Related Overdose Deaths in Allegheny County: Risks and Opportunities for Intervention, with an Executive Summary available here.
If you are interested in learning more about CONNECT’s work with Health or would like to join the Health Working Group, please contact Kristen Michaels at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allegheny County Health Department
Allegheny County Department of Human Services
Allegheny County EMS Council
UPMC Center for Emergency Medicine