5 Idaho Mayors to Participate in Community Health Academy

Five Idaho Mayors are participating in the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health’s Community Health Academy and are eligible to earn a $10,000 grant for their communities.

The participating mayors are Jackie Aymon (McCall), Jackie Barthlome (Grace), Marc Beitia (American Falls), Vic Holmes (Rathdrum) and Judith Nissula (Cascade).

Community Health Academy is a six-month learning collaborative that provides opportunities for city and community leaders to explore in-depth ways how they can fight childhood obesity across Idaho.

The academy is offered through the Foundation’s High Five initiative, which promotes physical activity and access to healthy foods for children.

Mayors were selected for the Community Health Academy through an application process.

“The Community Health Academy brings together a diverse group of mayors from across Idaho to discuss city-level strategies to improve youth wellness,” said Kendra Witt-Doyle, executive director of the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. “We believe that local leaders are positioned to help reduce obesity and increase healthy lifestyles in Idaho.”

The Community Health Academy allows mayors to learn best practices, collaborate with other leaders and learn from local and national experts over the course of the academy. Mayors will learn about walkability, the economic impact of food systems in their city, as well as leadership and marketing.

“We engage and mobilize mayors and provide them community health resources that will inspire them to influence policy, systems and environmental changes that will benefit children,” Witt-Doyle said.

Upon completion of the academy, a $10,000 grant will be awarded to the city that will be used to promote youth health. Previous mayors who have completed the Community Health Academy have used their grants for park improvements, installing crosswalks with flashing beacons and connecting trails and pathways.