Group sets sights on healthy goals

GLENDALE — Tobacco control, safer streets and obesity and diabetes were identified Thursday during a Glendale Healthier Community Coalition meeting as potential areas of focus for its members this year and next year.

The coalition met Thursday morning to create goals and a two-year strategic plan, which the group will try to get funding for from grants that are offered by other community organizations and will use to increase public awareness of health issues. But the members haven’t decided yet which type of forum they will use to inform the public.

After coalition members created a list of goals, the group determined which goals were most important.

“The obesity and diabetes issue is a birth-to-death health issue,” said member Carol Ann Burton, who is also president of YWCA of Glendale’s Board of Directors.

Violence, traffic safety and smoking concerns motivated members to select tobacco control and safer streets as other potential key goals.

Coalition members brainstormed together on health and safety issues, such as mental illness, aging, bullying and cancer prevention, that affect Glendale residents.

“Here’s an opportunity for us to identify a potential goal,” member Bruce Nelson said.

John Backer, executive director of Valley Nonprofit Resources, wrote down the members’ ideas and gave them advice on what they should consider when they are creating a strategic plan. Backer is not a member of the coalition and was brought in to Thursday’s meeting as a strategic planning consultant.

“If you don’t have a good focus plan, you are going to go off in 20 directions,” Backer told members. “This plan is your plan. It is not my plan.”

The coalition is made up of several community organizations, including the Glendale YMCA, YWCA of Glendale, American Red Cross, Glendale Healthy Kids and the Glendale Unified School District.

With 35 organizations and 60 members participating in the 12-year-old coalition, members hope that they could use their resources to back their potential goals for their first-ever structured strategic plan.

The coalition has funded a “HIV/AIDS Awareness for All” project, and for two years the group sponsored the Healthy Glendale Week, which was a health expo for Glendale residents. Members have also been working on quality-of-life data for the city, including figures on health, education, housing, transportation and community safety.

“One of the goals of this organization is to increase the amount of collaboration in our community,” said Nelson, who is Glendale Adventist Medical Center’s community services director.

The issues of tobacco control, safer streets and obesity and diabetes were selected as potential goals because they covered other topics, such as immigration, health-care access, the environment and drug and substance abuse, that coalition members mentioned as areas of focus.

“These are all legitimate needs,” Nelson told members. “The question we have here today is what can we realistically address or which can we realistically address.”

Backer suggested that the coalition try to incorporate the topics with the three key goals that they selected.

If the coalition focused on one major goal for the next year, it could be more effective in completing its mission, Backer said.

But he told members that he believed they could take on at least two more goals because of the members’ level of commitment and the significant resources available to them.

Backer will create a document for the coalition that lists its potential goals. The document will be sent to all coalition members so they can review their potential two-year strategic plan, and members will meet Feb. 26 during their executive meeting to discuss their selections.


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