Here’s what ‘Healthier Hampton Roads’ is all about

(Southside Daily File Photo/courtesy of Pixabay Images)
(Southside Daily File Photo/courtesy of Pixabay Images)

NORFOLK — Healthier Hampton Roads – a community-wide campaign – was recently announced at the Hampton Roads Health Literacy Community Leadership Forum at Old Dominion University.

Thought leaders from across Hampton Roads came together to discuss improving health literacy, citing its impact on citizens, health care costs and the region’s long-term economic prosperity. Health literacy is one of the strongest predictors of an individual’s health, and federal reports indicate that poor health knowledge costs the U.S. economy as much as $238 billion annually. Those with lower health literacy have higher mortality rates and more hospital and more emergency room visits.

The forum was hosted by ODU, EdLogics and Global Action Platform. EdLogics is a digital communications company that provides employers, health-care organizations, universities and communities a health education platform designed to improve health literacy and drive positive health behaviors by educating people in fun and engaging ways. Global Action Platform is a leading university-business alliance advancing scalable, sustainable solutions for abundant food, health and prosperity. ODU’s College of Health Sciences, Strome Entrepreneurial Center and the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) sponsored the forum on behalf of ODU.

“We share the vision of Healthier Hampton Roads, EdLogics and Global Action Platform since health care is rapidly being transformed through innovation. A healthy population and community have a direct impact on our region’s overall prosperity, workforce development and economic growth,” said Nancy Grden, executive director of ODU’s Strome Entrepreneurial Center.

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who served as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, is chairman of EdLogics.

“Healthier Hampton Roads will be a multi-stakeholder, integrated, community-based program that bridges the work site, home and community,” he said. “It will connect all of Hampton Roads through an interactive digital health platform that provides a vehicle for increasing awareness, communication, education, engagement and behavior change.”

According to Jim Spore, president and CEO for Reinvent Hampton Roads, “It’s all about the workforce – quantity, availability and quality. Quality includes health of the workforce, as well as skills and productivity.”

He added that “79 percent of businesses cite a healthy workforce as a key factor in guiding a location choice for expansion and new facilities, and 98 percent of businesses say that knowledge of an at-risk health-care population with high rates of chronic conditions prevents them from building and expanding in that location.”

Spore reported that health-care experts in Hampton Roads identify mental health, opioid abuse and chronic condition management as critical needs that must be addressed.

“Improving health literacy is a key requirement for achieving behavior change, reducing health-care costs and improving health outcomes,” said Thomas M. Chamberlain, founder and CEO of EdLogics. “Achieving behavior change at a community level requires people and organizations coming together through collaborative coalitions involving corporations, municipalities, non-profit organizations, health systems, universities, school systems, faith-based institutions, foundations and philanthropists. Such collaboration is a key goal for Healthier Hampton Roads.”

Scott T. Massey, chairman and CEO of Global Action Platform, seeing the initiative expanding beyond Hampton Roads.

“Global Action Platform is working with EdLogics as a strategic partner to launch Healthier Hampton Roads and help build a new national model that can be created first here, replicated in our headquarters city of Nashville, then shared nationally,” he said.

More information on Healthier Hampton Roads and the Hampton Roads Health Literacy Community Leadership Forum can be found here.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.