For Immediate Release
January 25, 2012

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

KDHE, Thomas County Health Department Collaborate on National Healthy Community Grant

Colby to Become ACHIEVE Community

TOPEKA, Kan.  - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) helped the Thomas County Health Department in Colby, Kan., develop the infrastructure necessary for Colby to become an Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental changE (ACHIEVE) community. As a result of this collaboration, the Thomas County Health Department received an ACHIEVE grant from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) for $88,000.

ACHIEVE is an initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that brings together concerned citizens to create healthy communities and provide local leaders with education and resources to solve specific health problems. Colby is one of 15 newly selected communities nationwide that will develop and implement local activities focused on preventing chronic disease through building partnerships and raising public awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use and exposure, poor nutrition and physical inactivity. Travis Rickford, KDHE Healthy Communities Coordinator, will serve as the State Health Department Expert Advisor for this ACHIEVE grant.

“KDHE is proud to support the Thomas County Health Department and the Thomas County Coalition in their efforts to improve the health of Colby residents,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “ACHIEVE grants are an excellent tool to help communities expand their resources and create sustainable community change.”

KDHE awarded Thomas County two Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR) grants –first in July 2010 and then in 2011, which built a foundation for their community work. These grants provided funding and guidance from KDHE to conduct a Colby community health assessment, identifying  health strengths and areas for improvement. The health assessment helped the community secure local funding to build a walking trail to increase access to physical activity, thereby strengthening the environmental infrastructure and increasing community support for health initiatives.

“Our involvement with the CDRR grant enabled us to establish a healthy communities coalition that aligns with many funding opportunities,” said Kasiah Rothchild, Thomas County Health Department Administrator. “I believe we have been so successful because we have had the time to plan how our coalition is structured and determine our mission.” 
ACHIEVE is a collaboration between local communities and national organizations joined in a movement to create healthier places where people live, learn, work and play. Since 2008, NACDD along with other national partners, have collaborated to provide training, technical assistance and support to the now 149 ACHIEVE communities across the nation.

KDHE’s Tobacco Use Prevention Program and Physical Activity and Nutrition Program (Bureau of Health Promotion) provide Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Grants and support to community coalitions for development, enhancement and evaluation of local tobacco prevention, physical activity and nutrition initiatives. For additional information on the KDHE Bureau of Health Promotion, visit www.kdheks.gov/bhp.