That’s the goal of the Purdue Extension Nutrition Education Program Community Wellness Coordinators. Our Community Wellness Coordinators (CWC) are one of the resources the Nutrition Education Program offers free of charge to Indiana communities. CWCs help make the healthy choice the easy choice by collaborating with community partners on broader community change that involves policy, system and environmental changes; sometimes known as PSE strategies. Community Wellness Coordinators are one of three strategies to help those SNAP-eligible Indiana residents to live a healthy life; joining direct education provided by Nutrition Education Program Advisors and a comprehensive social marketing campaign.
CWCs are involved in a range of community initiatives, including:
- Establishment and assistance to local health coalitions
- Helping to mobilize partners to create and support community gardens
- Working with schools on wellness initiatives
- Improving local access to healthy foods through healthy corner stores, improved food pantries, and making Farmers’ Markets more affordable.
- Helping to build more active living by promoting trails and parks and indoor walking trails.
PSE Strategies are a new way of thinking about how to improve health in a community and make healthier choices the easy choice or option.
Policy – Passing laws, regulations, resolutions or ordinances – such as:
- School policy prohibiting junk food in school fundraising drives
- Allowing residents to plant community gardens in vacant lots
- Promoting healthy meeting, healthy vending/healthy concessions
Systems – Changes to rules or processes of an organization, institution or system – some examples include:
- EBT acceptance at farmers markets
- Farm to school programs
- Creating a community plan to account for health impacts of new community projects
Environment – Changing the physical environment
- Incorporating sidewalks, paths, pedestrian-friendly intersections and recreation areas into community design
- Incorporating trail signage on walking paths
- Installing bike racks in the community
- Promoting use of stairs instead of elevator through signage
- Creating community gardens