City Recognized for Public Health Efforts

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KENTUCKY NEW ERA | MARGARITA CAMBEST | APRIL 15, 2015

In recognition of efforts to better public health, the city of Hopkinsville received the 2015 Kentucky Public Health Association Group Award on Wednesday.

According to a Christian County Health Department news release, each year the association gives the award to honor a group or organization that has contributed to enhancing public health through program development. Hopkinsville’s award was based on the establishment of a smoke-free ordinance, the creation of the Hopkinsville Rail Trail and the establishment of a public transportation system.

KPHA is a nonprofit, independent voluntary organization. Councilman Wendell Lynch and City Human Resources Director Kenneth Grabara accepted the award in Owensboro on behalf of the city.

“Hopkinsville has been proactive in its improvements to infrastructure and policies that will affect health outcomes,” Christian County Health Department director Mark Pyle said in an email. “While these outcomes may not show up on paper for a few years, because health data lags a few years, the effort that is being shown by the city of Hopkinsville shows a strong commitment to public health. It was a proud moment for me and my staff to see the city of Hopkinsville be (recognized) for their efforts.”

In 2012, the city was a community partner in the Christian County Health Department’s Christian County Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan.

In it, participating community partners identified the county’s shortfalls — a high instance of chronic disease, high smoking rate, high instance of cancer and low access to health care and preventative health care. The previous year’s health rankings also rated the county’s infrastructure and access to health and wellness facilities as low.

After outlining the city’s needs, portions of the plan started to be enacted.

Hopkinsville City Council adopted an ordinance regulating smoking in enclosed public places and work places, establishing civil fines for violation and establishing enforcement procedures in October 2012.  The comprehensive smoke-free ordinance was enacted in January 2013.

The Pennyrile Rail Trail Foundation, formed in 2001 to promote converting an abandoned Fort Campbell rail spur into a linear park, helped realize the development of the rail trail with the city’s support. It opened in 2014, and there are plans for two more phases in the future.

In December, the city launched the Hopkinsville Transit System with bus routes including grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, physician offices and the health department.

Pyle said he looks forward to working with Mayor Carter Hendricks in the future.

“He has been a part of many of the Community Health Improvement (Plan) process and is very interested in keeping the momentum going in the right direction.”

Read the article online.