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AHEC West a partner in new Health Department interactive web site

The Allegany County Health Department is among five health departments nationwide to receive a federal grant to help test an Internet web site that fosters community engagement on health-related issues. AHEC West is a collaborating partner in the project, which is built around the new website “AlleganySpeaks.com”
The Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI), a division of the Public Health Accreditation Board, announced the grants totaling $75,000 to five public health departments to test the replication of the Universal Community Planning Tool (UCPT), a digital collaboration framework developed by the Garrett County Health Department. The interactive web site is found at mygarrettcounty.com
Utilizing open-source technology, the UCPT is built on a popular content management system designed to seamlessly integrate with other systems and be easily deployed in every community. The Garrett County Health Department developed the tool to help its rural, western Maryland community create a shared vision based on county level data by meaningfully and transparently engaging 1,800 residents to date. The tool’s transparency allows for authentic engagement and increased accountability, and builds trust between agencies and the community alike. Ultimately, the tool aims to increase health equity through community engagement, with health improvement planning and the collection of hyper- local data with partners from across a range of sectors.
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the five public health departments will implement the UCPT in their own communities. The Garrett County Health Department will guide the communities through the installation and implementation of the tool to test the utility of the UCPT in various settings and to inform potential widespread use by the public health community.
Between now and October 31, 2018, the five grantees will use the funds to implement the UCPT to engage their communities in health improvement planning and will share findings and lessons learned with PHNCI.