A Healthier Future for West Virginia - Healthy People 2010
WV HP 2010
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Message from the Commissioner of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health

May 18, 2001

Dear Colleagues:

The U.S. Surgeon General has, under the name "Healthy People 2010," set forth objectives for improving the health of Americans over the next 10 years. These objectives are grouped under four categories: promoting healthy behaviors, promoting healthy and safe communities, improving systems for personal health and public health, and preventing disease.

As in 1990 with the development of "West Virginia Healthy People 2000," our state has followed the lead of the federal government with the adoption of 2010 objectives developed specifically for the people of West Virginia. It is my belief that the closer health objectives are to the people actually affected, the more power for change they will have.

West Virginia Healthy People 2010 is the initiative that defines the state's health agenda and guides policy. In it are over 300 specific objectives that will be monitored over the next 10 years. Through West Virginia Healthy People 2010 we can help to focus both government and private sector efforts toward a healthy state.

West Virginia Healthy People 2010 is our commitment to change -- a change in both the quality of and years of healthy life for all of our citizens. While some states have chosen to focus on only 10 or 12 areas of emphasis, West Virginia made the decision to include all of the chapters included in the national Healthy People 2010 document so that no one would be left behind! In addition, West Virginia has added a chapter on "End of Life," which was not included in the federal initiative.

At the very heart of the West Virginia Healthy People 2010 document is the issue of data. Without the full development of data systems to monitor changes in health risk behaviors, disease morbidity, death rates, and other critical indicators, Healthy People 2010 would not be possible. In some instances, Healthy People 2010 simply utilized existing data sources, in other areas, West Virginia Healthy People 2010 has driven the development of new data sources.

Measurement is the key to the development of West Virginia Healthy People 2010, and measurement is what sets this intiative apart from other efforts to improve the health of West Virginians. Healthy People 2010 truly drives the development of new and improved surveillance and data systems.

Why is West Virginia embarking on West Virginia Healthy People 2010?. The hope is that West Virginia Healthy People 2010 will be a health and wellness agenda that will mobilize both the public and private sectors to work collectively to improve health and that will provide benchmarks for measuring progess in achieving the objectives set forth in the document.

West Virginia Healthy People 2010 is a broad collaborative effort under the auspices of the Healthy West Virginia Coalition. West Virginia Healthy People 2010 is not, and cannot be, simply a government initiative. The Healthy West Virginia Coalition is a partnership that includes not only the Bureau for Public Health, but also employer groups, universities, health-related associations, public schools, health care providers, the faith community, and many other who provide a broad representation of the citizens across the state.

In every area of life we much have focus. health is such a broad and multidimensional aspect of life that nothing significant can be accomplished unless we find that focus. I believe that West Virginia Healthy People 2010 will help us to find that focus. It will help to define our agenda and to initiate ongoing communications with regard to health improvement.

In every endeavor we must have a destination in mind and we must start from where we are. West Virginia Healthy People 2010 shows us where we are and gives us concrete objectives to achieve. Getting there is up to all of us.

Henry G. Taylor, M.D., M.P.H.

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This page was last updated June 8, 2001.
For additional information about HP2010, contact Chuck Thayer at (304) 558-0644 or Chuck.E.Thayer@wv.gov