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Working Smarter Together to Solve KY Health Concerns

June 13, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - They call themselves coalitions, collectives, even networks in some cases - and for the first time, groups in Kentucky working on health-related issues have been compiled into a single directory.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky put the list together, and found that more than 140 groups are touching lives in each of the state's 120 counties.

For instance, says Susan Zepeda, the group's chief executive, if two groups in different communities are working on dental health issues, the directory can help them share knowledge.

"How they're addressing them, what's worked for them, what hasn't worked - so that we can all work smarter and lift up all the boats, if you will."

Each of these groups plays a role in improving the overall health of the state, Zepeda says, adding that health concerns being tackled by groups on the list run the gamut.

"Thirty-six of them are working on diabetes issues; 33 are engaged in mental-health issues. Sixty-one of these coalitions, tobacco. There are groups working on access to early treatment for cancer."

The directory is a tool that harkens back to a Kentucky tradition of 'barn building' - when, if a neighbor's barn was destroyed, people would work together to rebuild it.

"This is part of that long tradition of people coming together, to not just settle for things the way they are, but know that things can be better."

The complete list will be updated periodically, and she says additional groups are encouraged to join. The directory is on the Foundation's website, healthy-ky.org.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY