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students,” said Jenny Schuessler, Ph.D., RN, dean and professor of the Tanner Health System School of Nursing at UWG. “They get to see healthcare from a very different perspective, and that’s making them better nurses.” Another major initiative for Get Healthy, Live Well has been supporting the Carrollton GreenBelt, which formally opened in 2017. “Tanner was the perfect partner to provide programming for the Carrollton GreenBelt,” said Erica Studdard, community development director for Carrollton and former executive director of Friends of the Carrollton GreenBelt. Carrollton GreenBelt supporters relied on Tanner to produce all the marketing materials for the project. Tanner also helped develop communitybased initiatives that would utilize the trail network like Safe Routes to School, which has led to more pedestrian-friendly policies and infrastructure on the Carrollton City Schools campus and the bike-share program that has stations throughout the city, making it one of the most utilized such programs in the Southeast. The local bike-share program now boasts more riders than its counterpart in the city of Atlanta. Get Healthy, Live Well also worked with local communities to implement or improve “Complete Streets” policies that have improved pedestrian safety and access, encouraging more people to walk or bike. “Tanner understood that infrastructure – trails, parks and paths – improve a community’s health,” said Studdard of the Carrollton GreenBelt. “Their programs brought people to the trail.” Dr. Mark Albertus, superintendent of Carrollton City Schools, cited the ways the Get Healthy, Live Well initiative has become part of the very dialect of the region. “One of the hardest outcomes to achieve is changing the culture,” said Dr. Albertus. “In west Georgia, Get Healthy, Live Well is a household name – it’s changing our culture.” In addition to Safe Routes to School, Get Healthy, Live Well has worked with local schools to improve school nutrition and educate young people on the importance of eating a healthy diet. Those efforts have led to the establishment of at least 16 school

gardens, a unique program that makes healthy cooking part of the school curriculum with the Kids ‘N The Kitchen program and more. According to school leaders, those efforts have led to a noticeable increase in the number of children making healthier choices in school cafeterias. “We’re giving students the opportunity to learn about eating healthy and to try healthy foods,” said Dr. Linette Dodson, RD, LD, the former director of school nutrition for Carrollton City Schools who is now state director of the Georgia Department of Education’s School Nutrition Division. “Those nutrition lessons have led to the number of students choosing items such as salads at lunch to increase from 500 to 850, and they’re also taking those lessons home to their parents and trying to impact the level of nutrition in their own homes.” Among the four finalists, the AHA announced earlier this year that the winner of the Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service for 2018 would be Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. The organization will receive a $100,000 prize to help them continue their community health goals. The other finalists, along with Tanner, included Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, Texas, and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. As a finalist, Tanner received a $10,000 prize. “It’s almost unheard of to become a finalist the first year you qualify for this award, so we’re very honored that we had this chance to share our story with our colleagues from the AHA,” said Taylor. “I expect we will apply next year, too, and use this experience – and some of the new programs we have in the works – to further impress on the prize committee the extraordinary things we’re doing to impact the health of our region.” Led by Tanner, Get Healthy, Live Well is a comprehensive community health collaborative working to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent chronic disease by decreasing health disparities, reducing obesity rates, eliminating tobacco use, increasing physical activity and improving nutrition in Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties. More information on the collaborative’s work can be found online at WGW


Profile for West Georgia Woman Magazine/Angel Media, LLC

West Georgia Woman Magazine August 2019