The Utah Department of Health’s Healthy Environment Active Living Program (HEAL) plays a pivotal role in improving the health of residents within the State of Utah.
To cultivate the outcomes of the program, the HEAL program is striving to develop and maintain a policy agenda, in conjunction with a strategic plan, too: increase overall efficacy, create a narrowly tailored vision, and progress priorities and goals for the next 1-3 years, 3-5 years, and 5-10 years.
The program seeks to move upstream by targeting the root causes of chronic disease rather than remaining a reactionary program. By targeting the root causes and collaboratively working with community health partners in addition to sectors not traditionally seen as public health partners, we plan to increase positive health outcomes in our communities to better the lives of all Utahans. The program is focusing on policy changes that focus on the Governors One Utah road map, in addition to Social Determinants of Health.
Reactionary measures, and promotion of healthy choices will not fully eliminate these types of health disparities and inequities. In order to strike at the root of the problem, the HEAL program is focusing on policy solutions that will target underlying causes and develop a preventative framework. The HEAL program will work with current partners and strive to develop new partnerships in sectors like education, transportation, and housing to take action to improve the overall conditions in people’s environments in order to improve health outcomes.
Furthermore, the HEAL program notes that the most effective changes will come from working collaboratively with all levels of government (Local, County, State). It is through collaboration that we can effectively address the biggest issues and enact real meaningful change. If any one of these actors fails to act then the investment of time and resources by the other actors can be greatly diminished, and even counterproductive. When all three work together it can greatly magnify the overall outcomes.