“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” ― W.B. Yeats
Kris Kriebel sharing information for the Trumbull County Combined Health District/Trumbull County Creating Healthy Communities at the Niles Wellness Center
The best educators are not always those with the highest levels of educational attainment or most abundant accumulation of accolades. The most memorable, impactful educators are those that are able to spark curiosity and fan the flame to keep the fire of life-long-learning burning bright.
The Partnership is more alright with brilliant community educators and engagers than a fire-fly filled farm field on a late summer twilight. One of these illuminated educators is Kris Kriebel, Health Educator with the Trumbull County Combined Health District (TCCHD). Mr. Kriebel’s professional development is actually a great analogue to the Partnership—moving from a focus on individual responsibilities to creating and sustaining relationships with multiple partners to have an even greater impact.
Mr. Kriebel’s journey towards becoming a health educator began with his own education. The first leg was at Youngstown State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. He then went on to earn a Master of Science degree from the University of Cincinnati in Public/Community Health Education and Promotion. Additionally, Mr. Kriebel earned a certificate from the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing as a Certified Health Education Specialist.
While wrapping up his Master’s program in Cincinnati, Mr. Kriebel reconnected with northeastern Ohio by way of Akron Children’s Hospital. Beginning his time there as an Employee Wellness Intern. He then transitioned to become a Patient Educator and then graduated—like actually graduated—to become a Nutrition Session Leader. These positions provided Mr. Kriebel with skills and experiences to make connections with staff, patients, and parents to promote the benefits of eating healthier and maintaining a physically active routine. His last position with Akron Children’s Hospital was as a Fitness Coach, which included planning, developing, coordinating, instructing and evaluating Youth Fitness programs in community based fitness settings. This position required identifying, establishing, and nurturing relationships and partnerships throughout the hospital system as well as in the community.
After his time with Akron Children’s Hospital, Mr. Kriebel worked as a Success After 6 Coordinator with the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, where he coordinated activities, programs, and supplemental services implemented at school sites throughout the academic year as well as the summer months. In this role, he also evaluated the impact and success of programs and activities as well as built and maintained relationships with partner organizations.
This brings us to the present. In his current role with TCCHD as a Health Educator, Mr. Kriebel is responsible for developing countywide health education promotions, conducting public relations services, and coordinating the multi-sector Trumbull County Creating Healthy Communities coalition. Creating Healthy Communities is a grant-funded program supported by the Ohio Department of Health. The mission of the program is to “prevent and reduce chronic disease statewide. Through cross-sector collaboration, [CHC] are activating communities to improve access to and affordability of healthy food and increase opportunities for physical activity where Ohioans live, work and play. By implementing sustainable evidence-based strategies, CHC is creating a culture of health.” Trumbull County is one of 22 countries currently participating in CHC.
The Trumbull County CHC Coalition is very similar to the Partnership in both what the group is working on—addressing social and environmental conditions that impact health—and how the group works together—multiple sectors, perspectives, coming together to accomplish shared goals, identify shared indicators of success, and achieve a shared vision.
We’re grateful to have had connections with the Trumbull County CHC Coalition through Mr. Kriebel and his predecessor, Jenna Amerine. Bringing like-minded and like-structured coalitions together helps each group become more effective and impactful.
The Partnership celebrates the Trumbull County CHC Coalitions victories in completing the Warren and Niles Active Transportation Plans, helping Christian Bennett-Mosley, the Trumbull County Food Access Coordinator, expand the Healthy Community Store initiative into new stores in Trumbull County, as well as successfully securing resources for park improvements in multiple communities. He is also working with community partners to re-envision how to make Warren’s Annual Bike to Work Day more successful in the coming years.
Within the Partnership, Mr. Kriebel serves as the co-chair for the Active Transportation Action Team and has been an incredible help to the team by sharing his knowledge and experience about working with local communities to develop active transportation plans. And moreover, putting those plans into action. He also recently completed training to become a Community Ride Leader to lead community bicycle rides to promote the benefits of riding bikes for transportation–and how to do so safely.
Throughout his career so far, Mr. Kriebel has been successful in finding opportunities to use his experience and education to spark curiosity in others to want to learn and do more to become healthier–for themselves, their families, and communities. The Partnership is grateful that he is able to share so much of his time and talents with us. We hope that fire for learning, growing, and working together burns bright for a long time.