Eastern Shore Healthy Communities, a coalition led by Patti Kiger, MEd, Instructor of Pediatrics, was recently recognized for its achievements in a publication produced by the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health.

The article praised the coalition for its collaborative approach to addressing complex community-health issues: “The team leveraged connections to bring key players to the table in support of workplace wellness policies, healthier options in restaurants, and the development of a youth leadership academy.”

In 2009, Ms. Kiger took steps to create the coalition after learning that the overweight/obesity rate on Virginia’s Eastern Shore was 70 percent, the highest in Virginia, and that half of all schoolchildren there were overweight or obese. Partnering with nearly 40 Eastern Shore organizations, the coalition has, the article says, “shown that deliberate and thoughtful collaboration across sectors can lead to significant improvements in communities’ capacity to make change happen.” 

Kaethe Ferguson, EdD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, is Director of the Community Health and Research division of EVMS Pediatrics, which oversees the coalition’s work. “This is a great example,” she says, “of EVMS’ role in working with communities to help them build capacity to improve population health.”