Cochise Building Healthy Communities
About Healthy Cochise Initiative
The mission of the Healthy Cochise Initiative is to motivate and guide the diverse and unique communities within Cochise County to actively participate in identifying and addressing health concerns in their neighborhoods, towns, and surrounding communities. Addressing health, social, and economic factors, each community workgroup will focus on what is most needed to improve the community in which they live.
Mission: To produce measurable, sustainable population health changes through widespread policy, systems, and environmental changes and a network of advocates who identify, adopt, and implement those policies and activities to support health across the county.
Vision: To change the cultural expectations about the definition of a good and healthy life so residents of Cochise County are better equipped to live a healthier, happier lifestyle.
The Building Healthy Communities Project - Funded by the Legacy Foundation
Cochise Building Healthy Communities Summative Evaluation Report 2018-2021
- Promotes Healthy Eating & Active Living in Cochise County
- Priority three, Goal One is generously funded by the Legacy Foundation's Building Healthy Communities Grant awarded to the leading agency - the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in July 2018.
- The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension was selected as the organization to receive a $2 million strategic grant provided over 3 years to support work in the community focused on improving options for healthy eating and active living.
- The Legacy Foundation, as a community partner with Cochise Health and Social Services, assisted in completing the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). As one of the three top priorities, Healthy Eating, Obesity, and Diabetes, the foundation designated the entire $2 million Strategic Grant towards this goal. Called the Building Healthy Communities Project, this grant was able to staff five full-time employees dedicated to promoting healthy eating and active living in Cochise County. The staff includes Sr. Program Coordinators dedicated to support the Healthy Communities Committees, a School Liaison, and a Garden & Pantry Specialist. Read More
What makes a Community Healthy?
Different characteristics makes a community healthy. There are also different aspects of the community that can be a sign of a healthy community. Those to consider are access to a quality education, adequate housing, employment opportunities, transportation, access to places where to have physical activity, nutrition information and food access, quality, and preventive health care. A healthy community can mean different things to different people, so taking a collective impact initiative approach can help move the needle on health in our communities.
Social Determinants of Health
Social determinants of health (SDOH) are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of life-risks and outcomes. Learn more about social determinants of health.
Policy Systems and Environmental Change
Policy, systems and environmental change (PSE) helps community members and their partners modify their environment given more practical and healthy choices to help target health issues that affects our communities.
University of Arizona Cochise County Cooperative Extension
1140 N. Colombo Ave.
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635
Office: 520-458-8778 x2141
How to Get Involved
Our leadership academy was developed to seek out leaders within the depths of our community who are recognized leaders or not typically labeled as leaders and build on their strengths to advocate for community change.
The Building Healthy Community team designed this leadership program by selecting pertinent leadership skills from the UACE ACT Leadership curriculum; tailored the curriculum and training with cutting-edge information; provided logistics; and executed an outstanding leadership training that builds upon itself. Topics include Servant Leadership, Discovering Your Leadership Type, Community Engagement, Building Consensus, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Strategic Planning, Equity and Diversity, Empowerment, Delegation Strategies and Public Speaking. The first cohort of leaders created their vision, mission, and goals for the following leadership cohorts.
Building Healthy Communities supports these Community Committees in forming a genuine partnership to reduce health disparities in our county. We have staff designated to work on this effort. Staff provides education on the Social Determinants of Health, advice on the HCCs structure, governance, strategies, and activities. Assist with goal setting and planning and helps HCCs to incorporate PSEs into their strategic plans.
Fourteen indoor and outdoor stations were installed throughout the county in conjunction with the SNAP-Ed “Water Wins” campaign with healthy hydration toolkits. Funded by: Legacy Foundation of Southeastern Arizona
Partners included: Cochise Health and Social Services, Cochise County School Superintendent’s Office, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, and First Things First.
Contact Evelyn Whitmer for more information regarding Hydration Stations
Provided a variety of educational topics that could reinforce students learning about nature, science, math, and reading and writing skills. It was also a wonderful way for students to learn cooperation and social skills in an outdoor setting.
The Garden Tower Project
Initiated in 2020-2021 and awarded 21 garden towers to pre-K through high schools, as well as non-profits. The award included 3-tier, 4-tier, and 5-tier garden towers, as well as potting soil, seeds, and gardening information.
Recipients included: Berean Academy in Sierra Vista, Bisbee Science Lab, Carmichael Head Start in Sierra Vista, Chiricahua Pediatrics Clinic in Douglas, Colonel Smith Middle School on Fort Huachuca, Community Montessori School of Bisbee, Douglas High School Lil' Bulldog Preschool, Douglas Public Library, Huachuca City Community Garden, Huachuca City Library, Lomeli Too and Lomeli's Childcare Center in Douglas, Loretto Catholic School in Douglas, Palominas Elementary School Special Ed Program, Pearce Elementary School in Pearce, St. David School Middle School & H.S. Agriculture Program and Special Ed Program, Valley View Preschool in Hereford, Willcox Against Substance Abuse (WASA) Head Start and Willcox Middle School Science Program.
An active process, in which the participant, aided by the therapist, engages with the plant world. Working with plants is a holistic endeavor that involves multiple domains of functioning including physical activity, cognitive/intellectual engagement, emotional investment, and social interaction.
- Encouraged Pantries in Schools - School food pantries fill the gap for students and their families who don’t have adequate means to feed their families.
- Resources for School Food Pantries – The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, in partnership with the Building Healthy Communities team, supplied schools with technical and food safety advice, pantry funding, and food resources for schools who fit the demographics of need in Cochise County.
- Provide Information on Food Pantries - Located in many towns and cities in Cochise County. Some are in partnership and supplied by the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, located in Tucson, others are run by faith-based organizations.
- Partnered with The Huachuca City Community Garden - A non-profit that has produces approximately 4 tons of vegetables that have been distributed to low-income homes in the Huachuca City area free of charge. They are a wonderful example of how a community can serve their neighbors with fresh vegetables.