The Future We Choose: Building Healthy Communities

Mayor-McAdamsBy Carol Hendrycks, Youth Services Communications Manager, and Karen Crompton, Human Services Associate Director

In February, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams delivered the annual State of the County address outlining the work that is cut out for all of us in building safe and healthy communities for the Future We Choose. In his speech, he identified the following four focus areas to help us reach this vision. Your work is vital to us getting there.

Establishing healthy places, which includes protecting clean air and clean water and supporting culture, libraries, senior centers, recreation and parks.

Supporting a county of healthy people by helping to establish and maintain physical and behavioral health as well as supporting expanded access to healthcare coverage.

Providing opportunities that help Salt Lake County businesses successfully compete in a global economy, while maintaining efficient neighborhood infrastructure, an excellent quality of life, support for education and a broad tax base that benefits all.

Maintaining a responsive government, getting smarter and better at including data and evidence-based practices in the work we do and services we provide and make it part of our government “DNA.”

The work of every division within Human Services clearly supports the Mayor’s vision of The Future We Choose: Building Healthy Communities. And, we all play a necessary role in achieving that vision – Healthy People, Healthy Places, Providing Opportunities and Responsive Government.

The Human Services team has identified a Common Agenda goal for each of four areas:

• Healthy People – Increased access to health care
• Healthy Places – Clean air
• Providing Opportunities – Increased literacy
• Responsive Government – Employee engagement around The Future We Choose: Building Healthy Communities

The Common Agenda brings together all Human Services divisions around four goals to improve the quality of life for everyone in Salt Lake County. Our division will be involved in identifying the most important outcomes, selecting the best measures, and agreeing on the most powerful actions that will help Salt Lake County move the needle in the right direction to get the results we want for children, adults, families and our community.

Salt Lake County Youth Services has goals that support the agenda with the following commitments:

• Increase access to healthcare by supporting Medicaid and working to include other private insurance providers.

• Our division is working to improve air quality through the clean air challenge of carpooling, using public transit, walking or biking to work and skipping an out of the way errand to cut down on car emissions.

• Working to increase literacy through our afterschool programs and by offering more reading activities to our on campus residential clients and within our crisis center.

• We are all working to increase our knowledge about providing a healthy government. Youth Services has a disaster preparedness and COOP plan for all employees and clients on campus.

• We offer incentives for our employees to engage in supporting outreach efforts such as attend events and speak to the community, engage in social media by educating the public about our latest services and programs and inform our employees internally through mentoring programs and orientations about how they can best serve our clients, community and support each other in the workplace.

Salt Lake County Human Services Department has pulled together through a series of meetings to arrive at attainable goals in support of the common agenda that meet the challenges Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams expressed in his State of the County address.

The above list is only a few of the commitments. They are examples along with our own Youth Services goals and were developed to help us arrive at goals we can achieve in building healthy communities.

There are many things the community can do to also actively support this vision. We’d like to hear from you about the efforts you, a group or an individual are making in building healthy communities. We invite you to leave your comments here and appreciate the work you may already do to support our community. If you have questions, or would like more information about Mayor McAdams’ vision, feel free to contact us at 385-468-4500 or you can visit www.slco.org/mayor.

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