Feeling Good? Alexandrians are Building the Community Health Improvement Plan

“We were so excited to see the community’s choices,” said Dr. Stephen Haering, director of the Alexandria Health Department.

Oct. 5 Alexandria Health Department event (Courtesy photo)

By Natalie Talis

Alexandria, VA – After more than a year of work, Alexandria community members have taken the first step toward developing a five-year Community Health Improvement Plan! More than 100 community members attended an October 5 workshop to vote for their priority topics from a list of ten health issues identified in the Alexandria Health Department’s Community Health Assessment, and the results are in. The focus areas are affordable housing, poverty, and mental health.

“We were so excited to see the community’s choices,” said Dr. Stephen Haering, director of the Alexandria Health Department. “These are challenging topics, but we know that if we can make a dent in areas like Alexandria’s poverty rate, we can have a huge impact on health for all members of our community.”

Earlier This Summer: Alexandria Health Assessment: How Healthy is the City?

The event—hosted by the Alexandria Health Department and the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria—engaged residents from across the city to discuss the underlying causes behind local challenges with affordable housing, poverty, and mental health. It was held at the T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus.

Oct. 5 Alexandria Health Department event (Courtesy photo)

“It is critical that we gather solution ideas directly from Alexandrians,” said Allen Lomax, chair of the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria. “This is truly a Community Health Improvement Plan so any new strategies or initiatives have to make sense for the people most impacted.”

Upcoming Community Health Improvement Plan Events 

Community members are invited to solution brainstorming around these three priority topics as the next step in the Community Health Improvement Plan process. All sessions will include childcare and interpreters.

More details and an opportunity to participate online are available at alexandriava.gov/Health.

  • Mental Health: Nov. 4, 6:30-8 p.m., The Garden by Building Momentum at 5380 Eisenhower Ave Suite C
  • Affordable Housing: Nov. 6, from 6:30-8 p.m., Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Recreation Center at 25 W. Reed Ave.
  • Poverty: 11/12 from 7:00-8:30 pm, Charles Houston Recreation Center at 901 Wythe St.

The author is a public health planner with the Alexandria Health Department.