Manistee County Health and Wellness Summit: Energize for action

A multi-sector approach is needed to boost health and prevent chronic disease.

Dr. Dean Sienko delivered the keynote address at the Manistee County Health and Wellness Summit on August 13. Photo credit: Sarah Eichberger | MSU Extension

Dr. Dean Sienko delivered the keynote address at the Manistee County Health and Wellness Summit on August 13. Photo credit: Sarah Eichberger | MSU Extension

“Americans are at an unprecedented risk for health problems because they are overweight or obese. We eat too much and move too little. We need to understand the strong environmental forces that have caused this epidemic and apply individual, family and community interventions to address this problem.” Dean Sienko began his keynote to the Manistee County Health and Wellness Summit with the above statement. Sienko, the associate dean for prevention and public health at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and retired Army officer, referred to this as the BLUF or bottom line up front - a communication tool he took from his years in the Army. Sienko continued by telling the audience that the obesity epidemic will not be solved in the “white coat setting” and urged leaders to consider community level approaches for addressing the complexity of obesity.

A diverse group of public health stakeholders, including Michigan State University Extension, were convened by District Health Department #10 (DHD 10) on August 13 at the Stronach Township Hall in Manistee County to learn about the health of the county and brainstorm strategies for addressing obesity. Kevin Hughes, health office for DHD 10, introduced Sienko and provided a snapshot of health trends for Manistee County. Hughes pointed out that Manistee ranked 61 overall in the most recent County Health Rankings report, a tool referred to as a “population health check-up.” Hughes called community stakeholders to help generate ideas to move priorities of the Community Health Needs Assessment forward.

The summit concluded with a facilitated panel discussion from local leaders working towards chronic disease prevention. Representatives from county parks and recreation, school food service, healthcare, worksite wellness, and a local anti-hunger nonprofit shared key areas of their work and opportunities for collaborative efforts.

Interested in learning how you can support a healthy Manistee County?

  • The Healthy Manistee County Coalition meets on the first Thursday of each month (note: the September meeting is scheduled for 9/10 due to the holiday weekend).
  • Visit the Live WELL Wellness Campaign website.

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