M’hall gets Health Council
The Mayor's Health Council is a partnership with municipalities to establish coalitions governed by the Mayor's Office with the responsibility for creating healthy environments.
The environments are established through policy and environmental system changes which support increased access to physical activity, healthy foods and reduced exposure to tobacco smoke. The Mayor's Council works to reduce the prevalence of heart disease and stroke, and to engage key stakeholders to enact policies which support the reduction of risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The initiative was first started in the Delta, and is now beginning to spread state wide.
The goal of the council is to make the community a healthy place to work, live, and play. The council will essentially be a group of people who are interested in the health of the city and willing to do the work to improve it. The council should be made up of people from all walks of life. Karen Womack with the MS Department of Health spoke with the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of Mendenhall about establishing a Mayoral Health Council in May.
The first step in establishing the council is for Mayor Todd Booth to nominate a coordinator and to set up a community forum to discuss issues in the community. By having a Mayoral Health Council in place the city will become eligible for grants from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and others for health related projects.
Womack provided examples of these projects to the board which included the implementation of complete streets. Complete streets insured that each street featured a sidewalk and bike lane to make traversing the city without a vehicle safer. Womack said she will be working closely with the city to help establish the council and assist with any other needs the council may have.