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Strategic Plan

Welcome to the home page for the Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) Strategic Plan “Healthy Genesee County 2020.” “Health Happens Here” is a major theme of our plan. Place matters when it comes to health, life expectancy and quality of life.   In fact, in many communities you can look up the differences among life expectancy by zip code and the results may surprise you. GCHD received funding from the California Endowment to map this data for our county in 2013.

With this information we hope to empower neighborhoods to reduce disparity and create health equity. We all have a shared interest in ensuring our schools, our neighborhoods, are contributing positively to our health. For example, when zoning laws allow liquor stores to inundate a neighborhood, we see higher rates of crime. Vacant housing and blight are associated with crime. When there are too many fast food outlets in a community and not enough places to purchase fruits and vegetables, we see higher rates of preventable health conditions like obesity, type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

Conversely, when sidewalks, bike lanes and safe parks are built in communities we see an increase in physical activity which promotes health. When a school brings fresh produce into a school lunch program, we see kids eating salad and fresh fruit which puts them on a path to better eating habits.

“Health Happens Here” is a driving force for organizing our work.

“Health Happens Here” requires work on multiple issues. Our current priorities are:

  • Health Happens with Prevention–We must educate residents about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and how to access preventive health services in GeneseeCounty. A primary goal is to connect residents with preventive health services as envisioned in the new law especially those provided through GCHD and our partners.
  • Health Happens in Schools–Schools play a pivotal role in the physical, social and emotional health of children. By advocating for immunization compliance, communicable disease reporting, healthy food options, physical activity, youth violence prevention, we support safe and healthy school environments that are necessary for academic success and life achievement.
  • Health Happens in Neighborhoods–We must encourage public conversation and responsible decision making regarding land use, healthy food access, community safety, and economic opportunity in order to build neighborhoods with health in mind. The goal is to contribute to the rise of neighborhoods with parks, grocery stores, farmers markets, neighborhood gardens, bike paths and more safe places to walk, run, work and play.

So, in closing, I strongly encourage you to look at your community and ask yourself “Does health happen here?” We must get involved and become part of the solution.

Our success will be evaluated by reaching specific milestones in decreasing infant mortality, obesity, chronic disease, violence, and unintentional injury and increasing school attendance, graduation rates, immunization rates and preventive health screenings.

Mark Valacak, MPH, Health Officer, Director

To view the Genesee County Health Department’s Strategic Plan titled “Healthy Genesee County 2020” click here.