Health partners ask for community feedback on public health issues

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- A survey competed in the fall of 2014 asked Eau Claire and Chippewa residents to prioritize public health concerns facing the two counties. Now, nine separate health entities are holding a set of "community conversations" to hear public opinion.

“We always hoped that we would be able to bring in a larger amount of people to get a broader perspective. Our goals are to identify what our community sees as the most important health needs in our area, and then strategize and really see what we need so we can solve some of those needs for our residents,” says Rhonda Brown, Director of the Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership.

Liska Giese of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, says there were a number of health issues that reached the top of the chart, but one of the biggest was no surprise.

“Certainly nutrition and obesity, those things really rose to the top. We know that one in 5 people, adults, are not physically active, we know that from the data. We also know that 3 out of every 10 kids in Eau Claire and Chippewa Counties are obese. Those are things we have to pay attention to and care about, not only on a personal level, but because it impacts our community as a whole,” says Giese.

Julie Wren, Owner of Highland Fitness, says she is excited to see Eau Claire making public health a priority.

“It's proactive for Eau Claire to do this. People want information and it is so important to attend these meetings because you're going to get more information and as a healthcare provider or professional, or fitness facility in the area, to enlighten people in the area, so they can take advantage of these meetings and be proactive with their health,” says Wren.

“I believe meetings like this are going to bring more awareness to those different trails and different activities that the Eau Claire community has all the time. It gets people aware of what we have to offer,” says Highland Fitness trainer, Brady Hauser.

“Getting a good response from our communities is just so important to us, because it means that people are really invested in not only their individual health, but the health of our whole community and we can really do so much better work if we are working together,” says Brown.

“Part of the effort with these community conversations is how we can take a step back and do something before we have even worse problems than what we have now,” says Giese.

Here are a list of the upcoming Community Conversation meetings:
• Cornell High School: Tuesday, Feb. 3
• Altoona UW-Extension Office: Wednesday, Feb. 4
• Cadott High School: Thursday Feb. 5
• Bloomer Recreation Center: Monday, Feb. 9
• UW-Eau Claire: Tuesday, Feb. 10 Centennial Hall, Room 1614
• Chippewa Falls Public Library: Thursday, Feb. 12
• Fall Creek Village Board Room: Monday, Feb. 16
• Augusta Senior/Community Center: Tuesday, Feb. 17
• Eau Claire RCU Corporate Building: 8:30 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18

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