In 2015, a King County Community Health Needs Assessment report indicated that south King County, including Auburn, was among the most negatively impacted areas in the state for health, housing and economic opportunity. The data showed that average life expectancy in south King County was 13 years less than other areas. It also revealed Auburn had some of the highest rates of behavioral/mental distress, obesity, smoking, diabetes, low income and unemployment.
To address these concerning findings, the Blue Ribbon Committee was formed by Mayor Backus with the goal of transforming the City of Auburn into the healthiest city in Washington by 2020.
The committee consists of volunteers with representatives from the city’s clinical partner, MultiCare Health System, and seven major stakeholders: Auburn School District, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Green River College, Valley Cities Mental Health, Auburn Valley YMCA, HealthPoint and Seattle-King County Public Health-Auburn.
The committee’s vision is “Healthy Auburn for Life,” and its mission is “To optimize the health and well-being of all through education, participation and innovation.”
The committee identified nine major health issues as top concerns for Auburn, based on the Community Health Needs Assessment:
- Prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.
- Tobacco prevention and cessation.
- Healthy weight in adults and children.
- Behavioral/mental health and substance abuse.
- Special populations: homeless, aging and the military.
- Access to health care, quality health care, insurance, costs and primary care.
- Maternal and child health.
- Cultural diversity, quality care and communication circumstances.
- Violence and injury prevention.
Of these nine health issues, the committee selected three critical issues to begin plans of improvement – healthy weight in adults and children, behavioral/mental health and substance abuse, and maternal and child health – and is identifying projects of focus that will improve health for the Auburn community.
To support The Healthiest City in Washington – 2020, the city hosts a free health and resource expo held annually in February, Healthy Auburn, featuring plenty of interactive activities for all ages. Vendors include acupuncturists, chiropractic services, massage therapists, alternative medicine, dental care, insurance services and information with King County Health department and Sea Mar.