Posted June 3, 2013

Health Summit Builds on County Executive’s Goal for Healthiest County and NYS Prevention Agenda

 Stone Ridge, NY – Ulster County Executive Mike Hein hosted representatives of organizations and interested individuals at a preventative health summit designed to assess and prioritize the community’s resources and efforts as part of his goal to make Ulster the healthiest county in New York State, and as part of first phase of the New York State Department of Health’s new Prevention Agenda. “I would like to thank all of the organizations, individuals and members of the health and medical community who attended, participated in and have worked hard to support the goals of the health summit.  I am so pleased to see the expansion of the summit and the commitment by so many to taking both the large steps and the small steps that are needed to move us toward a healthier Ulster County,” said County Executive Hein. “A healthier community is a better place in which to live, work, visit and raise a family.” County Executive Hein was joined by Ulster County Commissioner of Health and Mental Health Dr. Carol Smith who, in her opening remarks, explained that the event, titled “A New Era of Prevention”, is part of an evolutionary process that began with the first countywide health summit held in 2010.  The first summit resulted in identification of priority health indicators that would be used to measure progress and to the establishment of volunteer Partners in Public Health Councils, who were charged with focusing on and improving their chosen priorities. “A short time ago, we began a journey that challenged each of us to pursue a healthier lifestyle and all of us to collectively appreciate the relationship between prevention and community vitality,” said Dr. Smith. “Last year, New Yorkers spent an additional $11.8 billion dollars in healthcare costs associated with otherwise preventable chronic diseases. This is simply not sustainable.  Together, we are building on a strong foundation of visionary and proactive leadership from the County Executive and the collective efforts of countless individuals and organizations who have dedicated themselves to improving longevity and quality of life for everyone in our community.” Since the time of the first summit, and the subsequent creation of the Partners in Public Health, New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has completely reformulated its own strategy to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs by way of fully embracing a prevention agenda. The key component of this agenda is an unprecedented emphasis on community collaboration. Going forward, NYSDOH will now be requiring all sectors of local communities, including local health departments, hospitals, community health clinics, non-profit organizations and others to share data and resources and work together to assess community health and to create and implement a comprehensive and integrated community health improvement plan, with built-in performance measures. Today’s “New Era of Prevention” Summit was presented by the County Executive’s Office and the Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health, in association with the Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley and the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach at the State University of New York at New Paltz.