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Group will focus on health issues

By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

A local meeting about Indiana’s poor national health ranking is scheduled for next Wednesday.

The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana will bring its State of Our Health Road Show to Connersville from 8-11 a.m. June 20 at Ivy Tech Community College, 717 W. 21st St. It’s one of 17 such meetings across the state.

Health care leaders, employers, policymakers, educators, and community members are invited to attend the free meeting to hear about Indiana’s poor health rankings and how they can be improved.

The state ranks 38th in the overall health of its citizens and is among the worst in the nation for obesity, tobacco use, infant mortality, and opioid abuse. Fayette County ranks at the bottom, overall, among Indiana’s 92 counties.

Speakers will include local, regional and state workers in the public health field.

At an April kick-off for the town hall meetings, the Alliance’s chairman, Bryan Mills, who is president and CEO of Community Health Network, said, “The Alliance aims to raise awareness of our public health crisis and rally grassroots support across the state for action from our policymakers. Our biggest challenge is the myth that there isn’t anything we can do about poor Hoosier health. In fact, there is something we can do about this – and we know it will work.”

Mills is scheduled to be among presenters at the Connersville meeting.

The Alliance for Public Health is affiliated with the Indiana Hospital Association and its member hospitals, and includes supporters such as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Medical Society. 

The Alliance has supported measures before the Indiana General Assembly to increase the tax on cigarettes.

Among local presenters are the following: Gerry Cyranowski, Meridian Health Services regional vice president; Chad Bolser, chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College chancellor for Connersville and Richmond; Rob Hillman, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Indiana president and general manager; Randy White, Fayette Regional Health System president and CEO; Katrina Norris, Fayette Regional Health System director of behavioral health and addiction services; Tajuan Stoker, Wellness Reid Health services line director; state Rep. Cindy Ziemke; and Mayor Harold Gordon.

The event is free and open to the public. Those attending are encouraged to bring non-perishable donations for Gleaners Food Pantry, which supplies items to hunger relief agencies and schools throughout 21 Indiana counties, including Fayette. 

For more information about the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana, visit its website, www.healthierindiana.org.