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It Will Take a Village

01/23/18

Looking for Volunteers to Build a Healthier Tomorrow

Dr. Nash

The founders of the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, have their eyes on the prize—a healthier Cambria-Somerset county region.

In its first year, the Center focused on preventing diabetes and improving diabetes management and treatment. Now it is enlisting volunteers and organizations to investigate solutions and develop the response.

Diabetes is one of five public health issues identified by the Center, which was founded last year as a collaboration of Johnstown’s 1889 Foundation and the Jefferson College of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Its other priorities are drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco use, obesity/physical activity, and mental health.

Because diabetes affects so many other areas of wellness, improving diabetes health will also address the other top priorities. Diabetes patients are at increased risk of heart disease, stroke, vascular disease, and kidney disease.

Developing a public health approach to fighting diabetes requires representation from all areas of the community, according to Trina Thompson, executive director of the Center.

“We are looking for people who want to make a difference in our community,” Thompson says, noting that volunteers don’t have to be professionals or trained in the specific area. Workgroup volunteers will be asked to attend one monthly meeting and complete work independently between meetings.