INDIANTOWN – The Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health or PACE-EH aims at Indiantown's health and well-being. At a recent council meeting, Marybeth Peῆa, a nurse program specialist and certified diabetes educator, gave a presentation via live stream on PACE and the influence its implementation could have on Indiantown's overall health.
Peῆa said PACE is one of the health department's objectives in Healthiest Weight Florida, and they are looking for access to healthy food. She underscored that PACE included many aspects of environmental health and it can serve the Indiantown community. According to Peῆa, the methodology behind PACE consists of engaging the community to become involved and collect the "necessary information to improve the health status of the community." Then, the health issues get identified, ranked and priorities are set for action. The 13-part project transpires over the year.
The nurse revealed how multiple counties in Florida have witnessed "success with the PACE project." Sixty-five initiatives have yielded $50 million in improvements. However, she continued that the common health issues were no sidewalks, no bike paths, no streetlights, sewage and septic issues, frequent flooding, no affordable or dilapidated housing, drinking water and well contamination.
She indicated that food deserts and food swamps dictate health outcomes. According to Peῆa, the highest percentage of obesity in adults and school-age children in Martin County comes from Indiantown. She would like to see the current percentages change by partnering with the Village of Indiantown. Although healthiest weight and access to food are PACE options, Peῆa said if the community had other priorities to implement first, her goal was to work together to improve the Village of Indiantown.