This post was written by Katie Haas and Kris Valdez.
The Healthy Communities Coalition of Eagle County, Colorado, is a Plan4Health coalition with Cohort Two. Over the course of the project, the coalition will pilot a program encouraging community members to play an active role in supporting healthy eating and active living programs and policies.
Eagle County is composed of seven communities, and each community has its own master plan. The county population fluctuates based on the season and is considered a rural resort community. The coalition is focusing efforts on the most vulnerable subset of the county’s underserved residents, which includes the Spanish-speaking Latino community, in which there is a high prevalence of diabetes and obesity.
The coalition is working to increase understanding of policies for healthy eating and active living through the following strategies:
- Conducting a policy scan.
- Increasing messaging around policy and environmental changes through passage of resolutions that prioritize health eating and active living through the built environment.
- Increasing health equity by developing a cross-jurisdictional collaborative system for authentic community engagement between underrepresented communities and Eagle River Valley municipalities.
The Healthy Communities Coalition has already gained support from the staff and elected officials of all seven jurisdictions for the Plan4Health project through public presentations at town council meetings. These presentations led to the execution of an intergovernmental agreement with each of the towns, solidifying their commitment to the project. These presentations also allowed the coalition the opportunity to share publicly the importance of healthy community design, demonstrating the link between the built environment and the well-being of community residents, as well as healthy community designs’ impact on the economic vitality of the community.
Vail Valley Partnership Business Development Director Jeremy Reitman expressed his support for the project: “This grant award enables our Eagle County planning jurisdictions to take a step back and assess how community planning and design impacts the health of our workforce, which is a crucial differentiator in maintaining a competitive local economy.”
Stay tuned for updates on Eagle County’s progress, and learn more about planning and public health work across the county on the Plan4Health Peer Learning Network!