Howland conference goal is to make Valley residents healthier

Staff report


Mahoning and Trumbull counties continue to rank among the lowest in Ohio for health outcomes and health factors, and a group of local foundations is coordinating a new initiative to do something about it.

The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, along with William Swanston Charitable Fund, the Western Reserve Health Foundation and the Trumbull Memorial Health Foundation, has scheduled “Innovations 2.0: Building Healthier Communities” Nov. 21 to initiate discussion among a broad range of constituents about how the Valley can get healthier.

Keynote speakers for the daylong conference at the Avalon Inn Grand Pavilion are U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, and Jason Reece, assistant professor for city and regional planning at the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University.

The event also will include a detailed look at the region’s health profile, a session on civic collaboration and a panel discussion with leaders of a Cleveland health initiative.

The foundations have invited a range of Mahoning Valley public health, hospital, business, local government and education leaders to the event.

“We are looking forward to convening the players who can develop solutions to the issues that keep many in our community from getting as healthy as they could be,” said Shari Harrell, Community Foundation president.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently ranked Mahoning County 75th out of 88 counties in Ohio for health outcomes that include length of life and quality of life, and 62nd out of 88 counties for health factors such as smoking, drinking and obesity.

Mahoning also ranks 86th for physical environment that includes air pollution and severe housing problems.

Trumbull County ranks 65th in the state in health outcomes and 72nd for health factors. The county’s physical environment ranks 83rd.