Friday, 30 September 2011

A visit from the Commissioner of Health

In week 4, the commissioner of health, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, paid us a visit to discuss the city's latest initiative, and our next project, "Healthy Baltimore 2015." Healthy Baltimore 2015 (HB2015) distills and targets health priorities in Baltimore and focuses on 10 priority areas that account for the greatest possible preventable disease, disability and death:
  1. Promote Access to Quality Health Care for All 
  2. Be Tobacco Free 
  3. Redesign Communities to Prevent Obesity
  4. Promote Heart Health 
  5. Stop the Spread of HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections 
  6. Recognise and Treat Mental Health Needs
  7. Reduce Drug Use and Alcohol Abuse
  8. Encourage Early Detection of Cancer 
  9. Promote Healthy Children and Adolescents 
  10. Create Health Promoting Neighbourhoods 
Dr. Oxiris outlined the challenges and opportunities of the programme and how we can contribute to the success of the project including communication, facilitation and integrations.The goal of HB2015 is to address these areas from three perspectives: policy development (health in all policies) to improve environmental, social and economic conditions affecting the health of Baltimore, promote prevention, and access to quality healthcare and maximise community engagement - informing, educating and engaging Baltimore residents to improve their health and the health of their communities.

Since we were already working on Bike Box, we decided to focus on #3: Redesign Communities to Prevent Obesity. Obesity is a huge issue in Baltimore and is linked to serious health conditions. For HB2015, redesigning communities means increasing physical activity levels and improving dietary patterns (including the consumption of more fresh fruits and vegetables) and providing more readily available access to fresh foods. With Bike Box, we want to hire the youth of the community to be the delivery people which will also increase physical activity, and since Bike Box is a grocery delivery system and produce cart, we're touching on access to healthy foods and bringing fresh fruits and vegetables closer - hoping to encourage grocers to open a store and serve the community.

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