Through cross-sector partnerships with public health professionals, schools, and local organizations, Tulsa County cities will create greater access to locally grown foods; reduce barriers to physical activity; and promote systemic and policy changes supporting a health in all policies approach.
“Plan4Health is a catalyst for Pathways to Health. It is the spring board to get out to the communities, establish shared use practices, and support the bridge between public health and planning.” – Leslie Carroll, Pathways to Health Board Chair
Tulsa County, Oklahoma is the most densely populated county in the state, with a population of more than 600,000. Oklahoma chronic disease rates are concerning: rates of obesity (27.8 percent), diabetes (13.6 percent) and hypertension (36.3 percent) are all worse than the national average. Oklahoma also ranked poorly among states for fruit and vegetable consumption; only 16.5 percent of adults in Tulsa County consumed adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables. The rate of grocery stores is much lower than the national average and the rate of fast food restaurants much higher. In Tulsa County, 17 percent of adults and 23 percent of children are food insecure. Additionally, Tulsa County ranked poorly with a walkability rating of 45.8, which is a contributing factor to the why nearly one-third of adults do not participate in any physical activities.
Pathways to Health works with community partners to reduce barriers to physical activity and nutrition by ensuring resources are focused on areas of greatest need and strengthening cross-sector partnerships. Through the oversight of the coalition, the Tulsa Health Department will gather baseline data and map assets to identify opportunities to expand shared use agreements and to establish a “Food Forest” to increase the availability and consumption of healthy foods. To engage the community, the coalition will create toolkits for assessing the impact of the built environment on public health and will hold “Walk-Shops” as a community education and health assessment tool.
Early in the project, the Shared Use Specialist and Chronic Disease Epidemiologist will be working closely with partners in the community. The Shared Use Specialist has already begun to work with five local schools interested in expanding or establishing shared use practices to encourage neighbors to utilize playground equipment, basketball courts and other amenities as a safe and welcome place to be physically active. The Chronic Disease Epidemiologist is establishing relationships with Tulsa city planners to review land use proposals and development applications to recommend opportunities to encourage positive health impact. These recommendations include access to sidewalks, crosswalks, bike parking and a holistic view of the land use surrounding proposed sites to ensure healthier communities.
Success story: October 2016 Fact sheet: April 2016
Presentation: Shared Use and Urban Food Forestry
Joani Dotson, Project Manager
Tulsa Health Department
Indian Nations Council of Governments
Pathways to Health
Oklahoma Chapter of the American Planning Association
Oklahoma Public Health Association
Oklahoma Health Equity Campaign
Tulsa Food Security Council
Healthy Living Program
Tulsa Green Country Permaculture