(Beaver Dam) Three Dodge County communities are among 31 statewide that have been recognized as a first-ever Wisconsin Healthy Community. Beaver Dam, Horicon and Juneau received a silver designation from the initiative through the UW Population Health Institute. The program, funded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program, is designed to celebrate and encourage achievements in health improvement in Wisconsin, and to serve as a guide for communities to expand and enhance their health improvement efforts. The designation recognizes communities that focus on multiple factors influencing health with sustainable solutions. To receive the silver designation, communities must show they have developed programs and made progress addressing health issues, working toward long term solutions, with a plan and funding in place, and tracking outcomes.
The Dodge County Blue Zones Project was cited among the examples along with related policies including Safe Routes to School and Complete Streets, which allows for sidewalks and bike lanes. The Blue Zones Project is sponsored by the Beaver Dam Community Hospital, where CEO Kim Miller says the hospital’s leadership team began work on improving the health and well-being of Dodge County four years ago. She says the most important part of the designation is that people in Dodge County are healthier today because of that work. The Healthy Community Designation lasts for three years, at which point a community may reapply. The communities will be recognized at the 2018 Healthiest State Summit starting Thursday in Green Bay. The two-day summit is a statewide gathering of leaders to work on shared priorities around health equity and to build skills.