The health and wellness of Guilford County residents is a top priority, thanks to a collaboration between UNC Greensboro, Cone Health and the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services. On May 11, more than 60 faculty, staff and community stakeholders gathered on campus to discuss common indicators that existing program providers and residents can use to inform their health and wellness efforts at the Lifetime Eating and Physical Activity Practices (LEAP) summit.
“The LEAP summit is an excellent example of community-academic partnerships working together to improve the health and well-being of Guilford County residents,” said Dr. Lauren A. Haldeman, associate chair and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Nutrition.
The LEAP initiative originated two years ago out of conversations between Dr. Sandra Shultz, professor of kinesiology, and Dr. Jake Hochrein, chief of Cone Health Medical Group HeartCare and Chief of the Cone Health Cardiovascular Service Line. The pair determined an overarching goal to change the culture of lifetime physical activity and eating behavior in the community through education and opportunities for engagement.
The project received initial funding through the Office of the Provost’s Strategic Seed Grant.
Multiple nonprofits, city and county departments, and health organizations now contribute to LEAP initiatives, including Guilford County Schools, Greensboro Parks and Rec and Ready for School Ready for Life.
The initiative is led by a core research team, including Shultz and Hochrein; Haldeman; Kathleen Colville, director of healthy communities at Cone Health; Dr. Emily Janke, director of the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement and associate professor of peace and conflict studies at UNCG; Dr. Marianne LeGreco, associate professor of communication studies at UNCG; and Dr. Mark Smith, epidemiologist at the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services.
Participants at the summit heard from LEAP core group members about the alarmingly high rates of heart disease and Type II diabetes at the national, state and county levels, and the need to be proactive about addressing these issues. Small groups discussed health indicators as they relate to healthy eating and physical activity.
The results of the summit will be published for the first time in a white paper documenting LEAP’s process thus far.
“The summit highlighted the excitement and commitment to improving the health of Guilford County,” said Haldeman. “We’ve got a lot of momentum surrounding this effort and look forward to continuing to grow and take the next steps with the community to move the needle forward on important health outcomes.”
Story by Elizabeth L. Harrison, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications