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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 following a community survey conducted by the Adams County Council of Community Services. Members of this rural, Pennsylvanian county were surveyed regarding their health status and engagement in risky behaviors affecting health. This organization has been spearheaded by rural community members.

Partners and organizations providing funding include:

Healthy Adams County works to include widespread community involvement in terms of addressing and solving health and wellness problems found throughout the region. Efforts are taken to develop short-term, high-impact projects as well as long-term, systems-level change.

Services offered

Healthy Adams County community task forces include:

  • Adams County Breast Cancer Coalition
    • Promotes education, screening, and early detection of breast cancer
    • Supports the Adams County Mammography Help Fund, which decreases the annual screening mammogram cost for uninsured women over 40 years of age
    • Coalition members have personal experiences with breast cancer
  • Adams County Food Policy Council
    • Connects low-income families with fresh produce through the Food Gap voucher program at farmers markets grocery stores
    • Encourages 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
  • 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
    • Efforts to reduce air pollution and nicotine addition in Adams County
  • Additional Task Forces and Initiatives
    • Domestic Violence Task Force
    • Housing Task Force, Latino Services Task Force
    • Physical Fitness Task Force
    • Safe Kids Coalition of Adams County
    • Aligning Forces for Quality

A collaborative called 'Community Wellness Connections' is a 2-year wellness campaign that focuses on 8 dimensions of health:

  • Social
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Environmental
  • Occupational
  • Financial

This collaborative will educate the community on these dimensions through events taking place every 3 months. At these event, community members will be eligible for incentives. Attendees can access information and register for each event via their website. Participants will be asked to sign a pledge and fill out attendance forms for each event for tracking purposes.

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.

The Behavioral Health Task Force partnered with Healthy York County Coalition and WellSpan Health to create a website called Feeling Blue to address depression.

The Adams County Food Policy Council was awarded the 2016-2017 USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant for a "Veggie Bucks" incentive at 2 grocery store locations in the county. Through the funds, they created a local foods resource guide for its rural community members. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will receive a 50 cent on the dollar incentive when purchasing produce from January through April of 2017. View more information about the program on their poster and in this article. The executive director of Healthy Adams County will be presenting about their SNAP program in August 2018.

The Adams Dental Center sees over 300 children annually and an average of 650 visits are made per year. The collaboration with Family First Health has led to increased access to medical and dental care.

Members of the Adams County Food Policy Council conducted a study on community-wide food security and how increased access to local, healthy food options affects community members through the use of food vouchers. The study found that most of the participants consumed more fruits and vegetables.

For more detailed results:

Awards and Recognition:


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 assessment was conducted in 2015 and recorded as 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

Contact Information

Kathy Gaskin, Executive Director
Healthy Adams County

Community engagement and volunteerism
Health screening
Networking and collaboration
Population health
Service delivery models
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

States served

Date added
June 10, 2016

Date updated or reviewed
July 24, 2018

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.