The Kentucky Medical Association (KMA) and the Madison County Health Department (MCHD) announced a new partnership this week that will combine the efforts of both organizations in order to undertake the state’s five key health issues.

Both entities will focus on combating issues of smoking, diabetes, drug abuse, obesity and flu/pneumonia, all issues in which Kentucky falls behind nationally. This initiative is a part of KMA’s Aim for Better Care: Administrative Improvements Initiative, which tackles administrative burdens, laws and regulations impacting the health of Kentuckians.

MCHD Public Health Director Nancy Crewe said that the partnership began at the KMA Fall Conference after Vice President Pat Padgett gave a presentation showcasing the initiative and extended the offer to any facilities interested.

“As I heard this I thought oh my goodness, these are the things that we (MCHD) focus on, and they were working to fix things that are major focus areas within our community,” Crewe said. “It was just a natural and appropriate affiliation for me.”

From there, Crewe reached out to KMA and invited them before the Madison County Board of Health.

KMA is a membership which includes physicians that represent every speciality, advocacy and education aspect and is considered a resource for physicians to unite around problems in the community regarding public health, according to Emily Schott, the KMA director of communications. She said that this is the first partnership of its kind in Kentucky.

“We chose Madison County because they came to us almost immediately and were very eager,” Schott said. “The health department is working on projects to help throughout the year and there are a lot of voices and a lot of different strategies to make the same change. So if we work together, it makes a bigger splash and reaches more people and we hope with Madison County as our pilot we can test the waters and create a blueprint for expanding throughout Kentucky.”

Several projects that the two groups are beginning to work on are a hand washing initiative that helps prevent flu and virus infections from passing, by showing proper hand washing techniques and a promotional campaign for vaccines.

Crewe said that in regards to the annual Madison County Community Health and Safety survey, KMA will help alongside MCHD to revise and send out the survey to the public and would work with KMA to promote answering the survey with other physicians.

“I am very fortunate and serendipitous,” Crewe said of the partnership. “I saw it as an opportunity to share common concerns and methods to protect the community and environment in Madison County. I think that this can help us in a welcome and inceptive way to reinforce and amplify the knowledge of public health. I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with KMA.”

Schott had mutual statements regarding the partnership saying that with it, both groups will be able to pull their resources together to make a bigger impact of public knowledge.

“We’re pulling our resources together to make a difference and we’re really excited with this partnership and to work with the whole team,” said Schott.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.

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