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Health care summit set for Jan. 19

January 5, 2017 GMT

It’s time again for area health care providers to begin assessing health care needs throughout the Panhandle, and to kick that off, the Panhandle Public Health District is holding its Health Summit Jan. 19.

Every three years, PPHD and area hospitals collaborate to assess local healthcare needs. After its last meeting in 2014, the group determined mental and emotional well-being, cancer prevention and injury prevention as the most pressing needs.

PPHD Kim Director mid-year, health care officials will analyze the data and determine the healthcare priorities in the Panhandle. Then, they will implement an evidence-based plan to address them.

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“We’re all short on resources, so we think it’s best to use evidence-based strategies that work,” Engel said. “Instead of taking the approach of waiting for someone to get sick, we think about preventative measures.”

Engel said improving health in the area isn’t what many people would perceive it to be at face value. PPHD works with local leaders and providers to improve health through public policy. She cited child seats in vehicles as an example of preventative care. In the long run, it’s cheaper for a family to purchase a car seat than it is to have an unrestrained child suffer extensive injuries in a car accident.

Engel touted the ability of different health care agencies in the Panhandle to work together as one of the major successes of the health summit. Along with health care officials, leaders in the community — city council members, business leaders and school administrators — play a major role in ensuring a healthy Panhandle. That starts at the health care summit.

Cities banning smoking from public places like parks is a step forward for a healthy community, Engel said. It could also be a school administrator instructing students and faculty to take a few minutes out of the day to exercise at their desks.

In addition to the brainstorming sessions at the health summit, UNMC College of Public Health Dean Dr. Ali Khan will speak at the event. Khan believes Nebraska can be the healthiest state in the nation — it’s just going to take work.

Everyone is invited to attend the free event, which is set to go from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gering Civic Center. To RSVP, visit goo.gl/gISSig.