For Immediate Release:  October 30, 2017 

Media Contact: 

Julia Groenfeldt, Program and Communications Associate 

Institute for Public Health Innovation 

202.747.3455 

JGroenfeldt@institutephi.org 

Nine HEAL Cities & Towns Recognized at 2017 Virginia Municipal League Conference 

Williamsburg, VA —  On October 3rd, at the Virginia Municipal League’s (VML) annual conference in Williamsburg, the HEAL Cities and Towns Campaign for the Mid-Atlantic recognized the health policy achievements of nine Virginia cities and towns. The HEAL Cities and Towns Campaign is a project of the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), in partnership with the Virginia and Maryland Municipal Leagues and with support from Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States. The Campaign provides technical assistance to municipal leaders to help them create healthy, prosperous communities by adopting healthy eating and active living (HEAL) policies and practices that improve their communities’ physical activity and food environments.

When they join the HEAL Campaign, cities and towns adopt HEAL policy and practice goals to create communities where all people can make healthy choices to eat nutritious food and be physically active. Each year, the Campaign recognizes cities and towns that advance to higher Campaign recognition levels by achieving their healthy eating and active living goals. The 2017 Virginia honorees’ accomplishments included:  the adoption of nutrition standards that ensure that food and beverages provided at workplace meetings and city-sponsored events include healthy options; the provision of healthy options in vending machines in municipal buildings; the incorporation of health and wellness language in a local comprehensive plan, construction of new main street pedestrian safety improvements, and the establishment of a community garden in a food desert.

The following cities and towns were recognized at the VML conference: 

  • The Towns of Ashland, Big Stone Gap, Wytheville, and the City of Falls Church were recognized as new HEAL Campaign members.
  • The Town of Wytheville received the Bronze HEAL Recognition for achieving one new HEAL goal.
  • The Town of Gordonsville and the City of Richmond earned the SilverHEAL Recognition for two new HEAL goals.  
  • The City of Hopewell and the Town of Middleburg received the GoldRecognition for attaining three new HEAL goals. 
  • The Town of Warrenton received PlatinumHEAL Recognition, the highest HEAL achievement award. Cities and towns that advance to the Platinum level have attained Gold status and provide evidence that their healthy eating and active living work reaches across government departments and is being evaluated and monitored.  

The annual VML Conference is an opportunity for city and town municipal officials to gain peer support, build skills and knowledge, and learn about opportunities to enhance their communities. The HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign led a workshop and roundtable at this year’s conference. Staff led a panel discussion where HEAL representatives from the Town of Crewe, the City of Williamsburg, the Town of Lawrenceville, the Town of Warrenton, and the Town of Bluefield shared strategies and examples of how their municipalities have successfully implemented HEAL initiatives. The HEAL Campaign also facilitated a round-table discussion on Aging Well with HEAL: How Healthy Eating Active Living Policies and Practices Promote Older Adult Health. This discussion included individuals from current HEAL cities and towns as well as municipal leaders interested in learning more about the Campaign and how they can bring healthy options to older residents in their communities.

About the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign:

The HEAL Cities and Towns Campaign provides free technical assistance to local government leaders to help them create healthy, prosperous communities by adopting policies and practices that improve their communities’ physical activity and food environments. HEAL is a project of the Institute for Public Health Innovation, in partnership with the Maryland and Virginia Municipal Leagues and funded by Kaiser Permanente, founding partner. 

For more information, visit the HEAL website at www.healcitiesmidatlantic.org and contact HEAL Program Manager, Sydney Daigle at Sdaigle@institutephi.org, 

About Institute for Public Health Innovation: 

IPHI creates partnerships across sectors and cultivates innovative solutions that improve health and well-being for all populations and communities across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, particularly those most affected by health inequities. IPHI’s work enhances the environments and conditions in which people live, age, work, learn, and play; strengthens health service systems and public policy; and builds organizational and community capacity to sustain progress.  IPHI is one of over 40 public health institutes across the country and a member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes.

For more information on IPHI, see www.institutephi.org, and follow IPHI on Facebook and Twitter @InstitutePHI.

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