Health Council debates health-issue solutions


Posted 3/1/18

The Bradley County Health Council’s February meeting addressed the topics of affordable transportation for seniors and the different health-related issues in Cleveland.

MyRide TN Southeast …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Health Council debates health-issue solutions


The Bradley County Health Council’s February meeting addressed the topics of affordable transportation for seniors and the different health-related issues in Cleveland.

MyRide TN Southeast is a volunteer transportation program offering rides to and from essential appointments for older residents of Bradley County. Following the success of the MyRide TN Memphis location, the new Southeast option is poised to aid Bradley County’s nearly 25,000 residents who are 60 years old or older.

Christin McWhorter, a support program coordinator with the Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability, stated that they are excited to be rolling out this new program for the city’s seniors.

“Those of you who work directly with seniors know that transportation is a much-needed service,” McWhorter said. “Many of these seniors don’t like to drive at night, or in the rain or even on the interstate, so this is definitely a universal problem, as many could be skipping important appointments like doctor visits.”

Driving volunteers would be trained, given background checks and be responsible for at least one ride per month. McWhorter states that they understand how seniors tend to relate more easily to more middle-aged or recently retired drivers as opposed to college students, so the former are the preferred candidates for volunteers.

The group recently had a steering committee meeting consisting of stakeholders from Bradley County who discussed what the program would look like, as well as if it is meeting the needs of the senior riders.

In Tennessee, the number of adults aged 65 and older will grow by 8 percent in the next 25 years, resulting in 1 in 4 Tennesseans being over the age of 65 by 2030.

“We are excited to meet the need for transportation in our community,” McWhorter added.

MyRide TN is currently searching for volunteer drivers in order to fully start its program. A ride will cost only $3, but must be paid and scheduled in advance over the phone.

According to Bradley County Health Department chair Justin Thomas, Cleveland’s top health issues come down to four things that Thomas calls "The Big Four" – tobacco, physical inactivity, substance abuse and obesity. Sexually transmitted infections are also an issue, but are not as common as the aforementioned four.

While Bradley County’s percentage of residents who smoke has decreased by 2 percent, the Health Council states that the county has a long way to go to achieve the U.S. median rate of 17 percent.

Physical inactivity also has increased in adults since 2016, and is still notably higher than the U.S. median.

As a way of displaying not only the knowledge of the attendants, but also the numerous programs available to combat the Big Four, Thomas had everyone participate in an activity that required different groups to rotate to each health issue written on a poster and write the names of different programs that relate to that issue. For example, relating to obesity, some of the programs listed were the Health Department’s Diabetes Prevention Program, its school education expo and education on tooth decay.

The end results were encouraging, according to Thomas, as each health issue had at least 10 different programs related to helping those experiencing that issue.

“We’ve participated in countless programs around town that address these issues, and there are always more and more springing up that are meant to bring aid to those who need it,” Thomas said.

The Bradley County Health Council meets once per month at Peerless Road Church. The next meeting will be held on March 27.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment


Print subscribers have FREE access to by registering HERE

Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE

We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.

If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.

Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE