TSET Healthy Living Program prepares to use community feedback, public health data, for local strategies to improve wellness

Story provided by TSET Healthy Living Program

Results from a recent Payne County survey show that about 62% of community members surveyed believe obesity is a very serious issue. To combat this, 78.3% of community members surveyed believe more farmers markets and produce stands would assist residents in eating more fruits and vegetables and 71.8% of community members surveyed stated that if there was someone who would be physically active with them, it would help them be more physically active.

These and other findings were gathered from a Comprehensive Community Needs Assessment conducted by the TSET Healthy Living Program serving Payne County. TSET HLP staff and community partners spent several months gathering input from local residents and collecting public health data, in order to develop strategies for improving wellness throughout the county, especially in areas that need it most.

“We spent a lot of time and effort on the assessment process in a very challenging year,” said Melinda Caldwell, program coordinator of the TSET HLP serving Payne County. “But the work was important to identify what steps we need to take as a community to improve the health of local residents.”

Year 1 of the TSET HLP’s five-year grant cycle, which began July 1, 2020 and ended June 30, was dedicated to a thorough assessment of tobacco use, nutrition access and physical activity environments within areas of the county with the poorest health outcomes. The program will spend the remaining four years working with community partners on implementing strategies to improve health outcomes as guided by the local data and public feedback.

TSET HLP staff are in the process of finalizing their implementation strategies with guidance from TSET program officers and the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 

The wellness strategies selected specifically for Payne County will be announced later this summer once they are finalized. But for now, Melinda Caldwell said TSET HLP staff and community partners are eager to share what they have learned with local residents as they prepare for the next phase of improving wellness in our area.

“We are so appreciative of our Community Collaborative group members, to everyone who participated in the survey and community listening sessions, and for the support we get from TSET,” Melinda Caldwell said. “We look forward to working as a community to overcome barriers to healthy environments in our county so our families and neighbors can live longer and healthier.”

TSET – the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust – currently funds 28 Healthy Living Program grants that serve 30 counties throughout Oklahoma. The community-based grants work to prevent and reduce tobacco use and obesity rates through a data-driven approach that includes strategic actions and partnerships with businesses, cities and governments, community organizations and schools.

To learn more about the TSET HLP in Payne County, contact Melinda Caldwell at [email protected]