Durant is a certified healthy community and has reaped the rewards in the form of new sidewalks.
Wednesday, business and community leaders learned what that meant and how to be a part of the program.
The Certified Healthy Oklahoma program is a state-wide recognition program geared to creating healthy work and community environments.
On top of being recognized for their efforts to improve health in their communities, participants also have the potential to gain Healthy Community Incentives Grants from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET).
The City of Durant’s grant coordinator Becca Parr was at the forum to explain how to get these grants and what they can do in a community.
On a business level, the program helps ensure lower insurance and higher productivity by guiding businesses toward healthier workplaces.
A community can apply for three levels of funding, bronze, silver and gold. Certified Healthy Schools can also apply for funding.
Last year, Durant was one of 30 Certified Healthy Communities across the state and one of four that received all three levels of funding.
Having Certified Healthy Businesses is the first step in having a Certified Healthy Community. Each community must have a certain number of businesses participating in order to be considered a Certified Healthy Community.
Representatives at the forum had several computers set up for business and community leaders to apply for the program Wednesday.
The program’s community wellness systems coordinator Lenae Clements said aside from the funding opportunities, the main goal is to develop a healthier Oklahoma.
“Once we start changing the environment, we can start changing the social norm,” said Clements, using an example of the change in mindset about smoking on an airplane.
She said while this was once the social norm, it would be reported today. She said that with more healthy programs, people will more easily make healthy choices.
For more information on Certified Healthy Oklahoma, visit www.certifiedhealthyok.com or or visit the Bryan County Health Department located at 1524 Chuckwa Drive in Durant.
- Jessica Breger can be reached at (580) 634-2162 or on Twitter @jbreger_news.