Healthy Adams County
- Need: Health initiatives in rural Pennsylvania communities to address locally-identified health disparities.
- Intervention: Healthy Adams County was created by its rural community members to promote community-wide health.
- Results: Community task forces have been formed to address breast cancer prevention, food policies, behavioral health, health literacy, oral health, tobacco prevention, and other rural, community-identified needs.
Healthy Adams County started in 1996 as a community-wide initiative to improve the health of residents in rural Adams County, Pennsylvania. The idea for the initiative stemmed from a survey conducted by the Council that identified local health disparities.
The Council, made up of community members, has continued to spearhead this effort to include widespread community involvement to address and solve social determinants of health throughout the region. Efforts are taken to develop short-term, high-impact projects as well as long-term, systems-level change.
Partners and funders for Healthy Adams County include:
Healthy Adams County community task forces include:
Adams County Breast Cancer Coalition
- Promotes education, screening, and early detection of breast cancer. Coalition members have personal experiences with breast cancer.
- Supports the Adams County Mammography Help Fund, which has decreased the annual screening mammogram cost for uninsured women over 40 years of age.
Food Policy Council
- Awarded a 2016-2017 USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant, continued with funding from the Gettysburg Hospital Foundation, for a Fruit and Veggie Bucks incentive program.
- Recipients can redeem coupons at 2 grocery store locations in the county.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients receive a 50 cent on the dollar incentive when purchasing produce.
- The program encourages the sale of local produce and promotes farm-to-institution initiatives.
Behavioral Health Task Force
- Educates community members how to cultivate an environment that can improve mental/behavioral health and quality of life.
- Improves access to behavioral health services.
- Provides education to the community regarding mental/behavioral health issues and trend.
Health Literacy Task Force
- Utilizes the University of North Carolina Medical School's Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit, which provides tools for connecting with patients who have different literacy levels.
- Helps providers understand cultural barriers and how to use plain language when speaking with patients.
- Conducting focus groups to research gaps in navigating services and education for residents ages 30-60 applying for disability assistance.
Oral Health Task Force
- Works with the Adams Dental Center to offer dental care to Head Start students, Migrant Head Start students, and those in the county foster care program.
- Works with Family First Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center to bring dental care to uninsured and underinsured residents.
Tobacco Prevention Task Force
- Works to reduce air pollution and nicotine addition in Adams County.
In addition, a collaborative called Community Wellness Connections is a 2-year wellness campaign a part of Healthy Adams County that focuses on mind, body, spirit, and community. The collaborative works to educate the community on these dimensions through events that take place every 3 months that provide awareness low-cost opportunities for activities. At these event, community members will be eligible for incentives. Attendees can access information and register for each event via their website.
For more information on services and upcoming events, visit the Healthy Adams County Facebook page.
Over 600 community volunteers tackle health and human service needs by serving on one of over 20 task force teams. A few successes of task force teams include:
- The Behavioral Health Task Force partnered with Healthy York County Coalition and WellSpan Health to create a website called Feeling Blue to address depression.
- In 2017, 216 individuals signed up for the Fruit and Veggie Buck SNAP program and 478 total people befitted from it. Most participants indicated they were able to purchase a greater amount of produce, buy more variety, and eat healthier. View more information about the program on their poster.
For more detailed results:
Awards and Recognition:
- Healthy Adams County Executive Director Kathy Gaskin won the 2014 Community Rural Health Leader of the Year Award.
- Gaskin and Dr. Amy Dailey, a professor of health sciences at Gettysburg College, were selected to attend the Detroit URC: Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Partnership Academy for 2016-2017.
Healthy Adams County utilizes health needs assessments in order to accurately identify the most prominent health risks and leading causes of illness and death throughout the community. This dictates the implementation of topic-specific task forces.
The most recent 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment for Adams and York Counties was a means of finding these health disparities and subsequent costs and concerns.
Items that are specifically looked at in these assessments include:
- Access to healthcare
- Health-related behavioral risks
- Prevention behaviors and context
Community engagement and volunteerism
Networking and collaboration
Social determinants of health
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention
June 10, 2016
Date updated or reviewed
September 16, 2019
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2019. Healthy Adams County [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/906 [Accessed 25 October 2020]
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.