Partnership aims to boost local health

July 05, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Helping determine what makes a healthy community and reaching that goal is the mission of Jan Crudden, who was recently named executive director of the Healthy Communities Partnership of Franklin and Fulton Counties.

"There's a distinction between community health and healthy communities," Crudden said Monday.

While the former deals with specific health issues such as heart disease or asthma, the partnership is concerned with "the systemic kinds of things communities need to address."

The partnership, created in 1994, "really began with a lot of the health and social service agencies," Crudden said. She said professionals wanted to identify areas where services overlapped or where there were gaps in services.

Crudden, 55, of Fayetteville, Pa., was named executive director in May after Summit Health, an affiliation between Chambersburg and Waynesboro hospitals, agreed to fund the partnership for two years. The grant includes her position, a part-time secretary and support services.


A community needs study completed in 1996 identified priorities in the two counties, including adolescent health, preventive health programs, physical activity and diet.

"We're finding that the lifestyles we lead are not healthy in terms of physical activity and the foods we eat," she said. Developing strategies to get people to be more active and shed a few pounds will require coordinating health care and social service agencies, public and private institutions and individuals.

Crudden, who spent the last two years as part-time director of the Greater Chambersburg 2000 Partnership, also wants to expand a preventive health program that now involves just one company.

The partnership has twice conducted health screenings for employees at the Chambersburg Container Co., providing counseling for further medical consultations or lifestyle changes.

In the area of adolescent health, she said the partnership is geared more toward prevention than intervention. That includes drug, alcohol and tobacco use, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

One partnership initiative is "Teen Radio," a program aired locally on WCBG in which teenagers and experts address issues "that put kids at risk for behaviors that are harmful to them," Crudden said.

A new initiative involves spreading the word about the 40 developmental assets identified by the Search Institute of Minneapolis, Minn.

Crudden said the more children are exposed to these assets, "the more likely they are to become healthy, well-rounded adults."

Those include teaching a child self-control and acceptance of responsibility. Crudden also said children who engage in community service and have relationships with adults in addition to their parents are going to be better citizens.

A lot of what Crudden wants to promote has been lost as communities spread out and neighbors become more isolated from each other, she said.

"We have moved from being a front porch community to a back deck community," she said.

Crudden's office is at the Franklin County Human Services Building on Franklin Farm Lane. Anyone with questions about partnership programs may contact her at 1-717-264-5949.

The Herald-Mail Articles