Modified: September 9, 2019 1:49pm

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Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined today by dozens of community partners along with Erie County Commissioners and personnel at the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County headquarters in Buffalo to officially unveil Live Well Erie, a new data-driven collaborative health and human services strategy committed to helping all county residents live their best lives possible. Organized around a single vision – that the new Erie County will leave no one behind – Live Well Erie will focus on addressing the social determinants of health while also considering the role that health behaviors have on the health of a population.

“Live Well Erie is a new way of thinking about public health, addressing the factors that cause premature death and also the social determinants -like safe housing and access to educational and job opportunities- that contribute to negative health results. The strategy brings Erie County departments together with community partners to learn more about what is affecting the health of our residents while using that knowledge to improve outcomes,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “In the new Erie County we will not leave anyone behind and this plan will focus on meaningful improvements in the lives of children, working families and seniors so that all may reach their full potential. I thank Deputy County Executive Maria Whyte and the Erie County team and our many community partners joining us in this effort for their work in making Erie County a better, healthier place to live, work, and retire.”

As part of today’s unveiling, Poloncarz signed an Executive Order creating the “Live Well Erie Task Force” which will be charged with implementing initiatives to support Live Well Erie, as well as monitoring the plan’s progress. Marie Cannon, Commissioner of the Department of Social Services, and John Craik, Executive Director of Population Health Collaborative, were named co-chairs of the Task Force.

"In choosing to work with Population Health Collaborative County Executive Poloncarz shows a vision and he recognizes that the health of a community in many respects depends on the health of the people living in it,” said John Craik, Executive Director at Population Health Collaborative. “Population Health Collaborative is honored and pleased to work with the County Executive and his team, because we recognize that the health of the population depends on the overall health of a community's economy, social fabric and other factors. Working together we look forward to creating the best Erie County possible for everyone."

However, health behaviors shape only thirty percent of the health of a population while clinical care shapes another twenty percent and the physical environment shapes ten percent. Fully forty percent of health outcomes are shaped by social determinants, or the conditions under which people are born, grow, live, work, and age.

The social determinants of health encompass areas such as:


• access to social and economic opportunities,

• resources and supports available in neighborhoods and communities,

• the quality of schooling, the safety of workplaces,

• the cleanliness of water, food and air, and

• the nature of social interactions and relationships.


With Live Well Erie, Erie County is working to better understand and positively influence these social determinants of health while focusing efforts on three primary populations, each with individual goals: Children, Working Families, and Seniors. There are nine broad goals across the three populations and each goal contains specific initiatives that aim to improve peoples’ lives by focusing on the social determinants of health such as access to transportation, jobs and opportunity, child care, expanded training for early childhood teachers, and others. Erie County will work with Live Well Erie Community Partners to monitor progress towards each of these goals and assess success along the way.

Erie County Social Services Commissioner Marie Cannon said, “Live Well Erie is our opportunity to collectively impact our community. It is designed to improve the well-being of all members of the Erie County community. The idea is that it takes a village to make a difference. We need the entire village to ensure that all children, regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, or address have an opportunity to succeed, to ensure that working families are empowered, and our seniors are supported to live vibrant lives. Live Well Erie is working with the systems and policies that impact our lives. It is all of us (the health, education, social services systems, etc.) gathering our resources, intellectual prowess, and commitment to ensure that no one is left behind. Live Well Erie is the affirmative answer to the question: Am I my brother’s keeper?”

46 local agencies and organizations have signed the Live Well Erie Pledge as partners in the community-wide effort, representing health care groups, social networks and advocates, labor and educational groups, women’s and youth groups, and more. More partners will be added as Live Well Erie grows in a continually evolving effort to improve the lives of residents.

“Live Well Erie has the potential to be a transformational project resulting in improved quality of life for those struggling in our community,” said Michael Weiner, President & CEO United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. “We are pleased to see many of the priorities embedded in the Live Well vision and strategic plan align nicely with United Way’s priorities for our community and are thrilled to be a partner in this new initiative.”

For more information:

On Live Well Erie, visit http://livewellerie.com/