City opening 4 health improvement zones | News, Sports, Jobs

YOUNGSTOWN — The city’s health district has announced four locations, one on either side of Youngstown, where it will place health improvement zones.

The zones are designed to help improve the health of city residents as well as assist people with various problems in the community.

The city spends $2,466,488 in American Recovery Plan funding for the program and has received a $450,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Health.

The four offices for health improvement districts will be located on the East Side, at 920 Dryden Ave., Price Memorial AME Zion Church; Ohev Beth Shalom on the North End, 119 Elm St.; Needles Eye Christian Life Center on the South Side, 74 Kenmore Ave.; and Grace Evangelistic Temple on the West Side, 2214 Mahoning Ave.

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Health Commissioner Erin Bishop said a community health advocacy supervisor to oversee the program and community health advocates from across the city have been recruited for the health improvement zones program.

Health advocates will serve as liaison officers with residents on issues such as property conditions, parking space and abandoned tire cleaning, and will also implement programs to improve residents’ health.

Bishop said he will have a community action team on both sides of the city that will include representatives from the community, the health district, and other organizations working with the district.

There will be focus groups and door-to-door reviews to identify the specific health needs of each part of the city. A questionnaire focusing on health needs will also be given to residents.

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Bishop said that once key issues are identified, the leadership of health promotion districts will work to develop goals and action steps to build a healthier community.

He said the program was funded to continue for four years, with the hope that it would continue with other monies.

The program will begin early next year.

The city council provided approximately $2.47 million in ARP funding for this program on June 15.

The Ohio Department of Health awarded Youngstown a $450,000 award on August 2. $150,000 of that amount will be used to expand the YMCA of Youngstown’s Y on the Fly initiative, which transports YMCA services, programs and events to neighborhoods by bus.

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The city health district was among 26 entities in the state that received a total of $6.89 million for health promotion districts in low-income areas.

According to ODH, the organizations plan to create or expand local capacity-building initiatives to remove health barriers in parts of the state that are at greatest risk for poor health outcomes.

“We don’t just fund initiatives based on abstract data,” said Jamie Carmichael, chief health opportunity consultant for ODH’s Office of Health Opportunity. “We want to engage communities and involve them in developing solutions to the problems they consider most important.”

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