OLYMPIA--Today the Thurston County Board of Health appointed 13 members to the newly created Thurston Thrives Advisory Council. The new advisory group includes business leaders, health professionals, community leaders, and other citizens from all walks of life who are dedicated to improving community health with the new Thurston Thrives initiative. Advisory board members will join with other citizen advisors to host public meetings in the coming months where they will discuss Thurston County's challenges and possible solutions for four key areas that make a difference in quality of life and how long people live--health behavior, the physical and built environment, health services, in addition to local social and economic conditions.
"Launching the Thurston Thrives initiative and bringing together this great group of people is all about fundamentally changing how we as a community think about health," said Thurston County Board of Health Chair Karen Valenzuela.
"There is so much more to the whole health equation than just a visit to the doctor's office. Access to healthy food, income and education, how we design our neighborhoods, community support for all of our residents, no matter their age--all of these things impact our health," said Valenzuela. "Thurston Thrives is about changing the game and bringing those factors into our policy decisions."
The Thurston Thrives Advisory Council members are:
- Curt Andino, Executive Director of South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity
- Michael Cade, Executive Director of Thurston Economic Development Council
- Barbara Clarkson, Thurston County community leader
- Mariella Cummings, CEO of Physicians of SW Washington and United Way of Thurston County board member
- Kevin Haughton, MD and United Way of Thurston County board member
- Nicole Hill, Tumwater City Councilmember and Conservation Projects Director for Nisqually Land Trust
- Dennis Mahar, Executive Director of Area Agency on Aging and United Way of Thurston County board member
- Raj Manhas, Superintendent of North Thurston Public Schools
- Cole Mason, MD and Past President of Thurston-Mason Medical Society
- Jay Mason, MD and Thurston-Mason Regional Support Network board member
- Lisa Smith, Executive Director of Enterprise for Equity
- Shelly Willis, Executive Director of Family Education & Support Services
- Lon Wyrick, Executive Director of Thurston Regional Planning Council
The launch of the Thurston Thrives initiative and appointment of the advisory council comes on the heels of the annual County Health Rankings report on March 20. While Thurston County improved its health ranking from 14th in 2012 to ninth this year compared to Washington's other 38 counties, the Thurston Thrives initiative aims to improve on areas like health behaviors, where Thurston County ranked 19th, and the physical environment, where Thurston County ranked 24th.
For more information on Thurston Thrives, visit www.ThurstonThrives.org