Volunteers sought to help Healthy Dearborn coalition

DEARBORN – Fun physical activities and healthier food, transportation and workplaces are all part of what a new coalition is working to bring to Dearborn.

And they are looking for volunteers to help them do it.

Healthy Dearborn is a collaboration between Beaumont Health, the city of Dearborn and the Dearborn Public Schools, with input from other stakeholders throughout the community.

“We are very excited about what it can do for our city and some of the things it has done already,” said David Norwood, Dearborn’s sustainability coordinator, who is spearheading the city’s involvement in Healthy Dearborn.

Sara Gleicher, Beaumont Health’s project manager for Healthy Dearborn, touted the three-way partnership.

“All are uniting around the idea of creating a healthier community by promoting healthy eating and active living in order to reduce high rates of chronic disease,” she said.

For now, Healthy Dearborn is mostly in the planning stages and participants are looking to gather ideas from residents and spread the word about the coalition.

“Right now we need volunteers to contribute their ideas to how we can best promote healthy eating and active living in parks, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods,” Gleicher said.

“Do they think we should build community gardens? Do their neighborhood stores need to carry more fresh produce? Are their kids eating healthy in the schools? How can we connect people to the parks, by having better walking trails or better programs, or both?”

Healthy Dearborn is also trying to raise awareness about the coalition. They are hoping to have speakers invited to community organizations and to see residents sharing information through social networks and social media.

Soon, volunteers will be needed to help with food, walkability and biking assessments and surveys, Gleicher said. Eventually, volunteers will be able to help with community events and initiatives.

Those interested in being involved can call Gleicher at 313-421-0762 to learn more.

Needs assessment shows four areas of concern

Healthy Dearborn is a result of a community health needs assessment conducted by what was then Oakwood Healthcare. The 2013 study showed four areas that need to be addressed: diabetes, cardiac care, obesity and access to health care.

Wayne County is said to be the unhealthiest county in Michigan.

Nationally, two-thirds of premature deaths are related to lifestyle choices such as poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and tobacco use.

Research has shown the best way to address needs such as those in Dearborn is to work within the community to make healthy eating and active living easier, safer and more accessible.