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Innovations 2018 Conference to Focus on Action Steps toward a Healthier Mahoning Valley

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO – Mahoning and Trumbull counties continue to rank among the lowest in Ohio for health outcomes and health factors. Now, a collection of local foundations is taking next steps toward reversing this trend by building solutions that promote a healthier Mahoning Valley.

The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, along with William Swanston Charitable Fund, the Western Reserve Health Foundation and the Trumbull Memorial Health Foundation, has scheduled “Innovations 2018 – Collaborating for a Healthier Mahoning Valley” next month. The Conference is designed to build dialogue and explore ways that everyone in the Mahoning Valley – residents, policy makers, community leaders, business and nonprofit leaders, educators and many others – can effectively collaborate and mobilize to tangibly improve the region’s health.

The Conference will also offer attendees proven strategies and best practices to address two of the most pressing issues impacting the health of Mahoning Valley residents: healthy, affordable food; and safe, suitable surroundings that promote a healthy lifestyle.

The keynote speaker for the daylong conference, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Jewish Community Center, 505 Gypsy Lane, Youngstown, is Natalie S. Burke, President & CEO of CommonHealth ACTION. Natalie will speak on “Embracing Collective Discomfort.” The event also will include sessions that underscore the overall theme of transitioning from awareness to action and working together. Topics include:
o Developing a Healthy Community Partnership
o Walk! Bike! Ride!;
o Improving the Availability of Healthy Food in Retail Settings
o How Parks and Green Spaces Can Improve Public Health

Everyone plays a crucial role in creating a healthy community, and the best way to make long-term, sustainable change is to work together. In that spirit, the foundations have invited a broad range of Mahoning Valley public health, hospital, business, local government and education leaders to the event.

“The 2016 Innovations conference focused primarily on creating awareness around important health issues and determinants,” said Shari Harrell, Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley president. “In the months that followed, we worked closely with our community partners to develop capacity, process and leadership—all necessary elements for effective collaboration. Now, this year’s conference is all about bringing our community together to discover ways that we can effectively collaborate—and to build the essential skills and tools to help us improve health for all residents.”

A consistent theme running through each session of the conference is one of progress made so far in forging a partnership that allows residents and stakeholders in the Valley to work collaboratively. Sessions are built specifically to engage attendees, solicit input and ideas, and share strategies and tactics to help everyone work collaboratively and effectively toward a healthier Mahoning Valley.

The event, which begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m., requires advance registration, which is open through January 11 and can be completed online at, or by calling the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley at (330) 743-5555. Breakfast and lunch are provided to all attendees, and everyone is invited and encouraged to attend. The registration fee is $20.00 per person and $15.00 for each additional registrant from the same organization.

Following the Conference, attendees will be encouraged to join the Healthy Community Partnership – Mahoning Valley and begin working together to improve health for all residents of the Mahoning Valley. Action teams are being formed around three evidence-based approaches that align with priorities identified by community residents, and attendees will be invited to join the teams and develop meaningful, measurable objectives.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently ranked Mahoning County 71st out of 88 counties in Ohio for health outcomes that include length of life and quality of life. Trumbull County ranks 61st.

A list of program topics can be found at this link: