Summary of Spring 2016 Community Partnership Meetings

By | June 16, 2016

The afternoon sessions of the TPHA spring meetings were dedicated to establishing interdepartmental relationships at the local level and to encouraging collaboration for the establishment of economically prosperous and healthy communities. Information about the meetings was sent to elected officials, county and city leaders, public health professionals and others interested in healthy communities. An announcement of the meetings was also posted in the April CTAS e-news which is sent to approximately 3500 individuals.


The same agenda was used for all three meetings and is shown below.


12:30 – 12:45 | Welcome

12:45 – 1:30 | Healthier Tennessee

1:30 – 2:15 | Three Star Panel

2:15 – 2:30 | Break

2:30 – 3:30

Community Partner Presentations

(5 minute presentations with 2 minutes for Q&A)

  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Environment and Conservation
  • Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Commission on Aging
  • Local Development Districts

3:30 | Closing

A summary of the presentations follows:


HEALTHIER TENNESSEE – Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness

Middle Tennessee – Jennings Ragan, Director, Community Relations

East Tennessee – Russell Cliché, East TN Regional Director

West Tennessee – Syrena Flowers, West TN Regional Director

The Foundation’s Healthier Tennessee initiative strives to increase the number of Tennesseans who are physically active for at least 30 minutes five times a week, promote a healthy diet, and reduce the number of people who use tobacco. It has been a nonprofit for three years. We have the opportunity to leverage positive frameworks within organizations. Healthier Tennessee uses language and marketing at the highest level. Tennessee is in the bottom 10 least healthy states.

We have data and best practices, but we are lacking hands/people.

Initiatives: Small starts, big change. – Online toolkits that are free, and accessible on phones. Ideas and behaviors. Small starts, @work, @worship, families


Next level: dashboards and reports: share information

Interventions are ineffective until they reach a community level. We are all seeing the same thing.


The Planning Committee is the #1 priority – they drive the effort. You must put a plan on paper. The Health Councils are a real asset .


THREESTAR – Jody Sliger, Director

Economic and Community Development Program begun in 1980. This organization provides seed money for projects that are measurable, reportable, trackable, sustainable programs. It has evolved from multiple areas of community development that then focused on five pillars.

  1. Jobs and economic development
  2. Fiscal strength and efficient government
  3. Public Safety
  4. Education and Work Development
  5. Health and Welfare

Decision makers at communities want to know communities have:

  • Qualitied workforce
  • Quality public education and health care
  • Strong, effective government

This organization emphasizes the uniqueness of the community.


Participating counties (and cities in these counties) will be eligible for a four percent discount (for eligible projects) on both the business development and community development ability-to-pay calculations. Additionally, only cities located in a county that is an active participate in the ThreeStar program will be eligible to participate in the Tennessee Downtowns program. Finally, there is an annual grant for Tier 2 and Tier 3 counties to serve as seed money for activities focused on improving at least one of the measured areas of the program: health and welfare, public safety, and education and workforce development. The process is as almost as valuable, sitting together with the various organizations to discuss working better together.

A complete program overview is available at:

For Pillar 5: Health and Welfare, rate of obesity by county is tracked for multiple years. Are the programs making a difference? 8th grade BMI, add additional numbers, track some other adult obesity, smoking.

In Middle Tennessee, Cathy Atwood presented on Trousdale County ThreeStar program. Trousdale has a population of approximately 8,000 (one of the top 5 smallest) and is the smallest county in area. The health council lead organizing a ThreeStar Project that looked at physical activity for family, not just children. They put together #1 for life. Classes in the gym after school hours for two 8-week sessions. Zumba, dance, pay for instructors. After grant funding, people were willing to pay to continue the program which meant sustainability.

Stewart County: walking areas, and green house. Goal to raise some fish.

Cannon County: We Care Cannon. Dentists and eye doctors and doctors provided free services for an entire day with 120 volunteers providing support. 490 students benefitted from the day. Supplies were provided for the children including hygiene products, clothes, school supplies and shoes.

In East Tennessee, Monroe county: Happy little accidents, Third year. It grows according to the community. Focus on seed money as supplies. The ideas are already there. Diabetes classes. 700 people in the community with fitness/ nutrition classes. Reduce health insurance rates.  Instructors to teach line dancing. 300 kids twice a week, 45 minutes of physical activity due to the fact that the buses drop them off so early. Girl Scout fitness day.

Plans for year: Get Fit Monroe. One stop shop. Regional roadmap to supplement. Nutrition and fitness oriented. Sports clubs, dance, gym, karate, drug prevention, nutrition education.

Middle school: hard age to get motivated. Kids wanted a running club. Families on the move. Every Thursday. Instructor provides education stretching and nutrition. From 6/7 kids to 20 families. Zombie bash. 100 participants. Work with factories, chamber of commerce. Getting our government on board. Show value.

Industrial parks moving to walking trails. Workface educated show up to work and be healthy 8

94 out of 95 counties have applied, with 92 certified. Only tier 2 and 3 applicable.

For counties that have improved with public safety, health and wellness, education, and workforce –  

Eligible for 25,000 enhancement grants

Health or education pieces.

50 eligible. 28 applications, announced on June 1st  

Tourism enhancement grant:  up to 50,000 trails, bikes, rowing. Changing the culture of ten.

Rural assistant

Main St. entrepreneur grant

Broadband assessment. Asset based initiatives. Distressed county website.

Jody stressed the importance of TEAM – together everyone achieves more.


Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development – Mainstreet Program

Middle Tennessee – Nancy Williams, Community Development Program Director

East Tennessee –

West Tennessee – Mary Ann Sharpe, Director of Main Street Brownsville


Downtown reflects the prosperity of a community . There are 31 designated “Mainstreet” communities in Tennessee. Mainstreet for a community requires previous designation as a ThreeStar community. A $15,000 grant is awarded when designated. The four point approach to downtown revitalization is a 24 month program. The four points are Design, economic Vitality, Promotion and Organization.


For every $1 invested, $18 return. The Main Street Director sometimes runs the Farmers Market.


The Tennessee Main Street Program serves as a statewide resource for communities seeking to revitalize and manage their traditional downtowns. It was established by the legislature to assist communities with their economic development and revitalization efforts.


Requirements for submitting an application include:

  • Define a project area concentrating efforts on a traditional commercial district that is typically at least 50 years old.
  • Have a designated five-member volunteer steering committee
  • Have a designated non-profit 501(c)(3) organization or city municipality that will host the steering committee for the program and associated grant project.
  • Demonstrate involvement and interest of the citizenry
  • Show how the city and county government recognizes the importance of downtown as an asset to the community.
  • Adopt a resolution by the city government to participate in the program.
  • Clearly demonstrate economic need for a downtown revitalization effort through economic factors.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Middle Tennessee – Ryan Jenkins, Park Mgr., Henry Horton

East Tennessee – James R. Tinch, Park Mgr., Roan Mtn.

West Tennessee – Joshua Walsh, Park Ranger, Montgomery Bell


There are 56 state parks and they work with all departments. You are within one hour of a park wherever you are in Tennessee. The various state parks have different programs, including garden projects, table gardens, farmers markets, greenways/trails, and summer camps for kids. The most popular program is the greenways/trails program. Park staff also work closely with schools in educational and weekend programs


The Jr. Rangers camp is also very popular. Kids are addicted to the screen. Too many childen battle diabetes and obesity. The program currently exists in 35 out of 56 parks. We teach children skills, healthy snacks, instilling love of nature with goal of preservation.


State Parks partner with the Tennessee Titans for the PLAY 60 grant, an extension of the NFL PLAY 60 After-School Kickoff initiative. This is the 38th year of the Running Tour, the longest state parks running series in the U.S. It consists of 22 road races, with distances varying from 5 to 13 miles. All races are held on Saturdays from October to March in 22 different State Parks, located from Memphis to Kingsport.
These events are sponsored by local running clubs, which are responsible for registration, timing and results. Each State Park provides facilities, race security and traffic control. 


Tennessee Department of Transportation

Middle Tennessee – Toks Omashakin, Deputy Commissioner  

East Tennessee – Jack Qualls,

West Tennessee – Larry McGoogin, TDOT Long Range Planning

The Department of Transportation is a full service transportation agency: waterways, rail, tansit and pedestrian activities. They are committed to working as a team with other departments and organizations to improve the health of Tennesseans.

Funding:  TDOT has a $2b budget to provide funding to support policies. $150 million is related to livability programs.

Policy: There has been an increase in the number of planning staff in the Office of Community Transportation and they are creating a multi modal process.

Projects: bringing policies to fruition. It is critical for people in communities to have a voice – city councils, mayors, planners. Be persistent!

Long range vision: Planning the next 20 years. 2 million people. 2 million more jobs. Rural planning organizations will help you get your plans off the ground. Resources are scarce. It makes more sense to have a plan. Many areas submit requests and have a vision, but no written plan.

Tennessee Department of Agriculture

Middle Tennessee – Boyd Barker, Public Affairs Regional Coordinator, Middle TN

East Tennessee – Louis Buck, Public Affairs Regional Coordinator, East TN

West Tennessee – Colleen Coury, Public Affairs Regional Coordinator, West TN

First meeting of the rural taskforce, at least half of the cabinet was present for an overview of programming. 98% of the population is free to do things other than farming with only 2% on the farm producing food we depend on. The Ag and Forestry Industry make up the #1 industry in the state with a $66B economic impact.

The Pick TN program connects farmers with consumers. The program began in 1986 and now has 2,362 participants with over 10,000 products and over 300,000 visits per year. Advances in agriculture have led to technological advances. The Pick TN movile app has 27,420 downloads. GPS mapping. Free. The app will buzz you when you are near a farmers market.

There are 142 farmers markets and farms that accept SNAP benefits. We need to ramp up the number of communities with farmers markets.

In TN, if it is about food it is Department of Agriculture with the exception of the restaurants. We inspect restaurants in the gas stations. No state level meat inspection. Forestry and EPA.  School lunch. Emergency food program. County fairs.

Tobacco focus. Master Settlement.  

Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability – Jim Shulman, Executive director

Tennessee ranked 44 for older population. Healthy aging does not start at 65. There are numerous Health Initiatives at Senior Citizen Centers. TCAD also has an Aging Nutrition Program that provides home  delivered meals, but that does not increase sociability. In 205, 284,262 meals were provided to 4,686 participants. There were 7,463 nutrition education encounters.

Map of percent of population 65 and older by 2030 shows that the population in Tennessee is aging.  Baby Boomer: 46-64- 75 million in the US.

AAAD: Area Agency on Aging and Disability

Senior Center locator for those looking for somewhere to go.

Information and assistance lines. Engage to be healthier.

Livability Summits: November 15, 2015. 400 in attendance. Topics: Shifting attitudes around aging and disability, assessing community livability, livability across Tennessee projects, grants, and contracts. Making parks senior friendly. Two Livability Summits are scheduled for 2016 – one in West TN on June 16 and one in East TN on November 15. The summits wil be focusing on tools to assist communities in assessing livability.

Dental care is a major concern that needs to be addressed for the aging population.

TN Development Districts

Middle Tennessee – Lorie Fisher, South Central Development District

East Tennessee – Chris Craig, First Tennessee Development District

West Tennessee – Ralph Moore, Memphis Area Association of Governments


The Development Districts are a statewide system of nine (9) regional planning and economic development organizations to promote intergovernmental cooperation on growth and development issues, including regional and statewide concerns. The organizations also promote more effective utilization of available resources in dealing with these needs. They serve as a resource to local governments. The support they provide includes researching and applying for grants and assisting with the implementation. Local officials are realizing physical fitness is an area of need for all citizens.
Political subdivision. 1966. Regional Planning Organization. Ad hoc staff to cities and counties. They are members and participate in strategic planning and work program. “Boots on the ground” on initiatives for state or federal mandates. All program have a health component. Living, workforce. Rural Transportation Program.  Technical support. More emphasis on walking and biking. Grant applications for trails.  Very Very popular. Environmental management program. Solid waste assistance program- environmentally sound. Promote household hazardous waste disposal program. Water quality program with the partnership with AG, TDEC. Streams with bacterial on stream. Work with property owners. Water quality initiative. Air quality. Non-attainment with ozone or particulate matter. Ozone Action partnership. Volunteer org. send out alerts. Focus on those with heart disease, copd. Housing program, grant fund from housing development. Low income that are dilapidated. Econ and community development: infrastructure grants for water sewer program. TN not having drinking water. Area on aging and disability. AAAD: healthy aging evidence based program. Proven positive results and empower people. Living well with chronic condition, diabetes, tools for caregivers. 4/5 years ago partnership with ETSU pharmacy. Participate in programs offering assistance. Senior Olympics. Special projects: prescription drug abuse, if an industry want to expand, they can find enough people to work to pass a drug test.

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