WeTHRIVE! honors communities & schools

Hamilton County Public Health (HCPH) annually recognizes WeTHRIVE!℠ communities and school districts for their commitment to fostering a culture of health, safety, and vitality throughout the county. WeTHRIVE! recently celebrated another year of success, honoring 19 communities and seven school districts (see list below).

What is WeTHRIVE!?

headshot of Mary Ellen Knaebel

“WeTHRIVE! is a community-led initiative of Hamilton County Public Health,” said Mary Ellen Knaebel, director of health promotion and education with HCPH. “It’s a unique partnership between public health and communities, schools, and child care providers, with the goal of making healthy changes that will last for generations to come.”

The initiative began in 2009 with three communities. Today, WeTHRIVE! impacts more than 300,000 people in 29 communities and eight school districts.

WeTHRIVE! communities

“Each community has a WeTHRIVE! team made up of residents and local leaders who want to make a difference by improving health and safety within their community,” Mary Ellen said.

A community’s WeTHRIVE! team has a public health educator from HCPH who guides them through the process of assessing the community’s needs, creating an action plan, and finding resources when needed.

Teams focus on one or more WeTHRIVE! pathways based on the community’s needs and interests. The WeTHRIVE! pathways are: Chronic Disease, Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Health, Injury Prevention, Social Health, and Substance Use/Abuse.

“A community focusing on chronic disease might offer quarterly health screenings or pass an ordinance making parks and playgrounds tobacco-free,” Mary Ellen explained. “If they choose our injury prevention pathway, they might start a falls prevention program for older residents or enact a bike helmet law for kids.”

WeTHRIVE! school districts

HCPH works with WeTHRIVE! school districts to create healthy and safe school environments for students, staff, and families. Each district has a WeTHRIVE! team made up of teachers, administrators, and staff.

A public health educator from HCPH works with school WeTHRIVE! teams, helping them assess the school health environment. The teams review district policies and practices related to health and safety and develop an action plan.

“Some examples of what WeTHRIVE! school districts have done include implementing policies to make campus 100 percent tobacco-free, incorporating mindfulness and physical activity into the classroom, adding substance abuse prevention to the curriculum, and adopting healthy food and beverage policies,” Mary Ellen said.

2021 WeTHRIVE! recognition

HCPH honored the following communities and school districts for meeting WeTHRIVE! recognition requirements in 2021:

WeTHRIVE! Communities
WeTHRIVE! School Districts

Northwest Local Schools and Elmwood Place joined WeTHRIVE! in 2021.

Keep up with WeTHRIVE! by following @WatchUsThrive on Facebook and Twitter.