Connersville, In. — The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana, a coalition of health care professionals, advocates, and community and business leaders from across the state, is stopping in Connersville on June 20 as part of its 2018 State of Our Health Road Show.The Road Show is a series of regional town hall meetings around the state where community leaders, public safety workers, health care providers, employers, and elected officials can hear about the Alliance’s plans for 2018 and beyond, which include raising awareness of Indiana’s poor health rankings and sharing ideas about ways communities can work together to improve Hoosier health.“The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana was created to tackle Indiana’s most pressing public health issues—smoking, obesity, infant mortality, and the opioid epidemic,” said Bryan Mills, president and CEO of Community Health Network and chair of the Alliance. “Because we are committed to improving the health of all Hoosiers, we’re taking our message on the road to build awareness and rally grassroots support for policy change at the Statehouse in 2019.”Indiana is ranked 38th in the nation in overall health according to the 2017 America’s Health Rankings annual report. The Hoosier state also ranks among the worst in the nation in the following categories:34thin drug deaths40thin obesity41stin percentage of smokers42ndin infant mortality49thin public health fundingThe Alliance’s top policy priority is to reduce Indiana’s high smoking rate by raising the state’s cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack. Twenty-one percent of Hoosier adults smoke, costing the state billions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs. The state cigarette tax has not been raised since 2007 and is currently well below the national average at under $1.00 per pack. Raising the price of cigarettes is a proven solution that would help 50,000 Hoosier adults quit, prevent 40,000 Hoosier kids from starting, and protect 10,000 Hoosier babies from the effects of secondhand smoke. In addition, the increase would generate $315 million in its first year that could go toward local public health programs, including opioid prevention and treatment.“At Fayette Regional Health System, we don’t just promote healing. We promote healthy living,” said Randy White, FACHE, president and CEO of Fayette Regional Health System, which is based in Connersville. “Unfortunately, too many Hoosiers today aren’t leading healthy lives. Through a concerted and collaborative effort, however, we can effect real change and improve the health of our state and our residents.”Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions from and share ideas with a number of expert presenters, including:Chad Bolser, Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College, Richmond and ConnersvilleBryan Mills, President and CEO, Community Health NetworkRandy White, FACHE, President and CEO, Fayette Regional Health SystemThe Honorable Harold Gordon, Mayor of ConnersvilleThe Honorable Cindy Ziemke, State Representative, District 55Rob Hillman, President and General Manager, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in IndianaKatrina Norris, Director of Behavioral Health and Addiction Services, Fayette Regional Health SystemTajuan Stoker, Service Line Director, Wellness, Reid HealthGerry Cyranowski, Regional Vice President, Meridian Health ServicesRebecca Keen, Medical Assisting Program Chair, Ivy Tech Community College Richmond“Ivy Tech Community College is proud to partner with the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana and host the town hall meeting in Connersville, as well as many other town hall meetings across the state,” said Chad Bolser, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College, Richmond and Connersville. “Tackling Indiana’s poor health rankings will take more than the work of our dedicated health care professionals. All of us, including educators, policymakers, employers, and community leaders, must be active and involved in the process.”The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Attendees are also encouraged to bring non-perishable donations for Gleaners Food Pantry. On a yearly basis, hundreds of thousands of hungry Hoosiers depend on food and other critical grocery products provided by Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Gleaners supplies items to hunger relief agencies and schools throughout 21 counties in central and southeastern Indiana.For more information on the Alliance and the health care issues facing the state, visit HealthierIndiana.org.