UWSC Go For Health! program initiative featured on NewPublicHealth.Org

NewPublicHealth.org interviewed Megan Joseph, UWSC Director of Community Organizing; Kymberly Lacrosse, UWSC Community Organizer; and Lynn Robinson, Santa Cruz City Council and Santa Cruz County Metro Board Member about the seven-year-old community collaboration, Go For Health!.
This article highlights the impact collaboration across sectors and the empowerment of youth can have on making positive healthy changes in the community. Read the entire interview here.

"NewPublicHealth: How did Go For Health! come about, and how did you come to focus on prevention and creating a healthier community? 

Megan Joseph: Go For Health! was convened by the United Way of Santa Cruz County, the Children’s Network and a few other organizations in 2004 who were starting to notice the upward trend in childhood obesity across the county, which wasn’t different from what was happening across the nation. Our community came together to start taking some real steps to address the issue. Representatives from over 150 local agencies gathered in that first year to start looking at best practices and what was really working to address childhood obesity beyond a nutrition education and direct service approach. That’s when they started to learn about a cross-sector approach and the idea of environmental prevention, which takes a unified, big picture strategy to address such a large public health issue that has so many pieces and different causes. 

NPH: You were able to convene 150 different agencies and many of which were from different sectors. Why is that so important to think about bringing in different kinds of partners to the table? 

Kymberly Lacrosse: When you’re looking at a problem in a community that affects so many different people in so many different areas, it’s really important to have as many perspectives as possible in the collaboration and participating in problem solving. We believe that really helps look at it on a deeper level and you’re more likely to have greater success in long-term sustainable changes. Having schools and local community organizations and community members and county and city government and many, many, many more in collaboration has definitely been important."

Read the entire interview here.