The symposium, which will be the fifth annual, will provide a platform to inform the general public on how they can work to help make Central Louisiana a better place to live for the entire community.

The symposium will be offering a look at the many factors that affect health in a community, and will be taking necessary steps to showcase how those in attendance can work to change that.

The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program will be offering insight into those factors and steps for the public, with Director of the program Julie Willems Van Dijk speaking to those in attendance through her presentation, “Improving Health for Everyone: What Can You Do?”

The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program helps communities across the country identify factors that affect community health, as well as providing data that allows the community to improve that overall health.

The program’s ranking model helps to categorize specific factors of the environment, which then in turn allows it to draw rankings based on health outcomes, including quality of life and length of life.

The Rapides Foundation's mission is to improve the health status of Central Louisiana.

The foundation focuses its work in three strategic areas:

Healthy People, which focuses on improved access to healthcare along with healthy behaviors

Education, to improve the level of educational attainment in order to promote a better path to improved economic, social and health status

Healthy Communities, which seeks to strengthen and provide more opportunities for leaders and organizations in Central Louisiana, along with providing more economic opportunity and family incomes.

The Foundation has been working to make Central Louisiana a healthier place to live since its creation in 1994, serving the nine parish area that covers Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn parishes.

The symposium will be hosted on Thursday, September 6 from 3:30 - 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn located at 701 4th Street in downtown Alexandria. The event will be open to the public.

Registration is required by August 29 to assist with food planning.

In order to register, you may call the Foundation at at 318-443-3394 or 800-994-3394.

You may also visit their website at or email them at