The Department of Health in Walton County (DOH) has partnered with the Walton County
Prevention Coalition (WCPC) since it was established in 2004, and as a community planner at
DOH, I’ve been an active member since 2015. The WCPC is a vital partner in empowering
people, especially kids, in being their healthiest selves, and that is ultimately the goal of DOH.
Having this coordinated approach to helping our community is key to making true and lasting
When we talk about prevention in terms of health, we typically think of preventing diseases with
vaccines or preventing pregnancies through birth control. But, prevention is so much more
minute than that. The best way to help people make better, healthier choices is to prevent them
from making bad ones in the first place. Prevention is a core aspect in public health, and the
prevention of tobacco and substance use is extremely important in affecting a person’s physical
and mental health.
The mission statements for both of these organizations focuses on improving our communities
through collaborative efforts. With that, we are able to align resources and provide support for
various prevention efforts. Part of the benefit of this partnership is the ability to share data that is
used to determine what improvements are needed in our community.
I’ve seen so many positive impacts while being a part of the Coalition. As a mom, knowing that
we’ve made good strides in lessening underage drinking on our beaches during the summer
and spring break, is a big one. Also, the positive interactions of the school resource officers with
students, is huge. Building positive relationships with school resource officers encourages
students to make better decisions because they know if they get caught with tobacco or an
illegal substance, they will be letting that person down who they hopefully look up to. Hidden in
Plain Sight is also a great campaign that, again, as a parent, I think is important. Not all parents
know what to look for or know that there are so many things out there that look like something
normal, when they can actually be very dangerous.
I’m grateful to be a part of such an amazing group of people who are all working together as one
to make our community a better place to live, learn, work and play.