The 2015 Bost Health Policy Forum hosted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky kicked off with a welcome from Kentucky’s Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen. She reinforced the importance of economic vitality, livability and strong communities related to the health of Kentuckians. We heard from a variety of health advocates on topics including education, the built environment, worksite wellness and food systems from Andrew Dannenberg from the University of Washington, Vera Oziransky from the Vitality Institute, Mary Gwen Wheeler from 55000 Degrees, and Margo Wootan from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Four breakout opportunities were available including Transportation/Housing, Food Systems and Policy, Education and Employer/Workplace. I attended Food Systems in the morning and heard from Margo Wootan again, Martin Richards from the Community Farm Alliance, Tina Garland from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Jeff Henderson from the Jackson County Regional Food Center and Stephen Reily from the West Louisville FoodPort. It was great to hear about rural, urban, local and national projects related to this topic.
The keynote, Tony Iton from The California Endowment addressed the group during lunch. After years of analyzing data, Iton has concluded that your zip code is more important than you genetic code. His data continues to show the correlation between health disparities and high poverty zip codes. Where you live may affect your health and life expectancy.
In the afternoon, I attended the breakout on education. Mary Gwen Wheeler spoke again, as well as Jamie Sparks from the Kentucky Department of Education, Brigitte Blom Ramsey from the Prichard Committee and Terry Tolan, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Education. The conversation surrounded itself around the importance of education, health education, access to healthy meals, kindergarten readiness, school health policy and college access and preparedness.
It was a great day reconnecting with colleagues, listening to speakers, hearing new perspectives and meeting new people. Thanks to the staff at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky for another informative event!