News: Local

Posted on Jan 31, 2013

Spotlight on Chester, Pennsylvania

“Chester, Pennsylvania; A City on the Move!!!”

“The Chester City Bureau of Health is committed to creating policy and programs that improve the social determinants of health and build health equity for those who live, work, learn and play in Chester.” –Ieasa A. Nichols, Commissioner, Chester City Bureau of Health

Chester, Pennsylvania is the only city in Delaware County. Nestled between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware, Chester spans 4.8 square miles and is home to little over 34,000 residents.

The City of Chester Bureau of Health is committed to improving health by improving the social determinants which predict adverse health outcomes and by increasing health equity for our residents.  In its efforts to improve health, the Bureau uses strategies such as the adoption of public health policy, the implementation of health promotion programs and the enforcement of public health code.

Identified as a, “City on the Move” Chester was recently selected to participate in President Obama Administration’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) pilot program. As such, the city has received training and technical support from various arms of federal government; including that of the US Department of Health and Human Services which has worked to assist the city’s Bureau of Health in forming a community-wide coalition, developing a strategic plan, identifying areas of need, and taking action.

In an effort to increase its capacity to serve and offer health promotion programs, the Bureau of Health, under the direction of Public Safety Director, William Al Jacobs and Commissioner Ieasa Nichols, launched the Division of Community Health Education Services in the fall of 2012, naming Ms. Rosetta Carter as director.

With support from the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2), the Division of Community Health Education Services took the action of launching Let’s Move! Chester with a formal adoption by Mayor John Linder and members of City Council in an effort to combat childhood obesity.

As a result of the city’s adoption of the Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) framework, and the subsequent support of the community-wide coalition, Chester earned four awards in two of the LMCTC goal categories.  They received Bronze and Silver medals in Goal I: Start Early, Start Smart for their achievements in helping early care and education program providers incorporate best practices for nutrition, physical activity and screen time into their programs.  In addition, because At least 70% of their students are participating in their local Public School Breakfast Program, with at least 60% public elementary and middle school students, and 45% high school aged students participating in the National School Lunch Program, they received Bronze and Silver medals in Goal III: Smart Servings for Students.

The city attributes their success to the community partners who have signed on to help achieve Chester’s vision. By employing a cross-jurisdictional approach to improving the health of their community, they have ensured representation from both the private and public sectors, gaining by-in from local stakeholders, faith based institutions, and the health care and social service industry.

Key partners include the city of Chester Department of Recreation, Chester Housing Authority, ChesPenn Health Services (a public federally funded health center), Crozer Keystone-Health Centers (a not-for-profit health system), Keystone Mercy Health Plan (Pennsylvania’s largest Medical Assistance (Medicaid) managed care health plan), Rocky Run YMCA, Smedley Wellness Center (an adolescent health center),  and Widener University.

In their continued commitment to reduce childhood obesity and promote nutrition within their community’s homes, schools and communities, their partners offer programs to engage both children and parents in activities that will promote family recreation, physical activity and healthy eating habits.

Their local Let’s Move! programs/initiatives include:

  • Changing the snack food options in municipal vending machines
  • Women’s Health and Fitness Boot Camp to get Mother Moving
  • Nutrition and fitness  workshops are offered  in local schools and daycare facilities utilizing the MyPlate framework
  • Establishing community gardens
  • HERO’s ( Health Education Resource Outreach for Seniors)
  • Chester Upland Soccer for Success
  • Be A Fit Kid
  • Triple E: Eat, Exercise and Enjoy (Weight Loss for Teens)
  • Family Fitness Program
  • Chester Biddy League
  • FIT Kids & Hip Kids
  • Childhood Obesity Project
  • Youth Amateur Boxing
  • Young Lungs at Play

For more information on “Chester Let’s Move!” please contact Ms. Rosetta Carter, Director of Community Health Education Services @ 610-447-7770 or rcarter@chestercity.com.

Health Commissioner Ieasa Nichols at a Let’s Move! Chester event