Maternal health, substance use, obesity focuses of Saginaw County program

SAGINAW, MI — As part of a new initiative addressing Saginaw County health needs, organizers launched a website recently to connect residents with resources and caretakers.

Officials with the Saginaw County Health Department and 10 community organizations last month announced the Be Well, Saginaw program, which focuses on solutions to “three of the most significant health issues” facing the community: maternal and child health, mental health and substance use, and obesity and chronic diseases.

A website launched since the announcement — at bewellsaginaw.org — provides information on all three topics, including weblinks and contact information for agencies providing help to individuals suffering from those health issues.

“If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that overall health plays a major role in how diseases impact a community,” said Christina Harrington, an organizer for Be Well, Saginaw and the health officer at the Saginaw County Health Department.

“To prevent, mitigate and prepare for any future events, we need to work collaboratively to build a healthier Saginaw — one that is more resilient so that, if or when we experience the next wave or disease, we experience less severe illness, lower hospitalization, and fewer deaths.”

Along with the partnerships that created Be Well, Saginaw, organizers are advocating other agencies and businesses champion the program with their employees and communities. Those organizations can share and promote Be Well, Saginaw content or adopt the program’s brand for health and wellness-related activities, officials said.

“We are encouraging everyone to use Be Well, Saginaw information to start conversations in your organizations, businesses, churches, and neighborhoods, and to reach out to find ways to work together to improve the health of Saginaw County,” Harrington said.

Officials with the program plan to bring the initiative to the community as well. Be Well, Saginaw organizers plan to host a Healthy Living Expo at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Saginaw YMCA, 1915 Fordney in Saginaw. A 5K walk-and-run event will launch from the location at the same time.

The Be Well, Saginaw initiative partnership includes Ascension St. Mary’s hospital, Central Michigan University, Covenant HealthCare, Great Lakes Bay Health Centers, HealthSource, Michigan Health Improvement Alliance, Saginaw Community Foundation, Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority, Saginaw County Health Department, Saginaw Intermediate School District, and United Way of Saginaw County.

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