Begin with a compelling cause—making Sonoma County one of the healthiest communities in the state—add as a driving force a contingent of passionate, action-oriented organizations with deep expertise—and you have a formula for success.

That’s the premise behind Health Action, an initiative that brings together the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Department of Health Services (DHS), and a broad-based group of agencies and individuals, in working toward the common goal of making the county a healthy place to live for everyone residing here.

Health Action’s innovative, collaborative approach is attracting national attention and recognition. The National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) named the Sonoma County DHS as the 2017 Local Health Department of the Year during its national conference in July. DHS and Health Action were specifically recognized for their efforts to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease in the county. The stakes are high: heart disease and strokes are responsible for one in five deaths locally.

Said Karen Milman, County of Sonoma Health Officer: “Through these efforts, we are implementing a comprehensive, whole-community approach to improve cardiovascular health that is reinforced at the doctor’s office, worksite, neighborhood and grocery store. This collaboration to improve care and achieve greater outcomes is what sets Sonoma County apart.”

The many organizations joining forces to advance the community’s health and well-being through Health Action include nonprofits, faith-based organizations, city and county agencies, health care providers, and school districts.

Community Foundation Sonoma County participates in this joint effort through President and CEO Beth Brown’s membership in the Health Action Council and Vice President for Programs Karin Demarest’s involvement in the Health Action Steering Committee. Both of the committees provide guidance for Health Action’s activities.

“At Community Foundation Sonoma County, we are proud that Health Action has earned this national recognition for its work, and are honored to be stewards and contributors to the effort,” said Karin Demarest. “Our participation is an important part of our role in the community beyond grantmaking: contributing time and expertise to help move innovative initiatives forward.”

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