Public Health Week celebrated here

Published 4:25 am Wednesday, April 17, 2019

National Public Health Week — a week-long public health initiative that provides community awareness to public health was celebrated April 1-7. The global initiative celebrated public health — “For Science, For Action, and For Health” — with daily events.

On Monday, April 1, the National Public Health Week daily event was “Healthy Communities” celebrations around the world. LSU AgCenter participated in the initiative, where 14 community members — ranging from Early Childhood, Retired Veterans, Faith-based leaders, and Homemaker professionals — participated in a Franklinton Healthy Communities Advisory Leadership Forum offered by the AgCenter, in a meeting that addressed health concerns in our community. Also in attendance and support were LSU AgCenter’s Henry Harrison, the Parish Chairman, County Agent and our Regional Director, Dr. Chiquita Briley.

The meeting commenced with an introduction of nutrition programs available in Franklinton and conducted by LSU AgCenter nutrition staff, Keisha Fletcher, Nutrition Agent and Christi Mitchell, Nutrition Educator. The Agent and Educator provided insight of their programmatic efforts and the importance of community feedback about the health of Franklinton.

Participants defined “What is health?” and were provided with community health statistics. According to the rankings, Washington Parish’s overall health is ranked 58 out of 64 parishes, and length of life is 61st out of 64 parishes. However, these numbers have improved slightly from 2018. Participants were alarmed about the health data presented.

After learning about the health rankings, participants broke out into a session to develop a strategic plan to identify strengths, weakness, how to improve our community, barriers, and ranked which issue has the greatest impact and easiest and most difficult to implement.

Some feedback from the meeting included that our community needs more awareness of our nutrition and health and commitment. Also, we do have opportunities available in our community including the Farmer’s Market and LSU AgCenter Nutrition, Master Gardener and 4H programs. The leaders in attendance would like to see a healthier Franklinton with walking trails and biking. Marketing to churches in the area was recommended and community encouraging one another was identified.

Finally, the meeting concluded with 10 community members committed to help the health and nutrition initiatives in Franklinton, by signing the “Count Me In” board.

This is a start to a community initiative to develop the Nutrition and Wellness programs and Healthy Communities-Franklinton to work with local government leaders to help improve the town of Franklinton. Thank you to all participants that attended and voiced their concerns in our community and whom are committed to this great initiative. Next, we will have monthly meetings and meet with stakeholders to address these concerns.

To learn more about celebrating National Public Health Week, how to get involved, tools and tips, and fact sheets, visit online at

If you would like to join the Healthy Communities: Nutrition and Health Initiative, please contact Keisha Fletcher, Area Nutrition Agent at the LSU AgCenter in Washington Parish. Email her at office or call 985-839-7855.