Postcards from Wellville

It’s been a busy, productive month on the road visiting the Wellville communities, collaborating with partners, and gathering additional support.

Clatsop County and Social Determinants of Health

In April, Esther and Rick participated in the CareOregon board retreat, which was an inspiring two-day gathering of leaders focused on creating new opportunities to address the social determinants of health. CareOregon serves the state’s Medicaid members and health plans, including four Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO) covering about 250,000 Oregonians. One of those CCOs is Columbia Pacific CCO, lead sponsor of the Wellville efforts in Clatsop County, OR.

Focusing on “upstream” factors that matter to health – like food systems, housing, employment, and social connections – will have a powerful, lasting impact on the people and places of Wellville. We are inspired by CareOregon’s lead role in bridging health with health care, and we’re grateful to be part of making this happen in Clatsop County.

We also know that sustaining community-wide health efforts will require a shift in financing and business models, which is why CareOregon’s board-level support and other emerging approaches – such as Oregon’s Pay for Prevention initiative – are so exciting!

Spartanburg launches two pilot projects

Last week, on the other side of the country, the HICCup team was joined by our partner IBM for pilot design sessions in Spartanburg, SC. With IBM’s in-kind consultation and analytics support, the pilots are aimed at two of the five focus areas in Spartanburg’s Wellville plan:

  • Obesity prevention: increasing activity among grade-schoolers, while using real-time analytics to identify additional improvement opportunities such as nutrition and health literacy.
  • Care for the uninsured: using text messaging to extend care coordination among those with chronic illnesses served by Access Health.

Spartanburg’s Wellville efforts are attracting lots of attention. Also in town last week were:

Greater Wellville: Lancaster, PA hosts summit

A few days later, and a few states away, the Greater Wellville community of Lancaster, PA hosted its 2015 Health Summit, aptly titled The Way to Wellville. With several hundred leaders representing local employers, health care providers and community agencies, the summit focused on building the business case for a healthy community. Pay for success and other new payment models discussed could provide new sources of sustainable capital for the continued success of the LiveWELL Lancaster County Coalition, which has been around since 1990.

Next up on the tour

  • Lake County, CA, June 11-12: The Wellville Five communities will gather for a two-day strategy lab facilitated by ReThink Health, our partner for business planning support thanks to generous funding from RWJF. Teams from each community will test and refine their plans using the ReThink Health Dynamics Model, along with other tools, coaching and peer-sharing opportunities. We’ll also explore sustainable financing strategies to scale high-impact initiatives for better health and economic returns.
  • Greater Muskegon, MI, July 17-19: Local leaders, developers, students, investors and advisors will gather for the Muskegon Might Build-a-thon. Three teams of professionals will develop and present their best ideas to revitalize downtown Muskegon Heights, a community of 12,000 with a vibrant history that has been affected negatively during the economic downturn.

Stay tuned for more details. Then drop us a postcard about your community efforts, wellbeing strategies, business ideas, and funding/investment interests…and let’s create new Wellvilles together!

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Spartanburg City Council acknowledges, apologizes for systemic racism

Last Monday the Spartanburg City Council approved unanimously a “Healing, Reconciling and Unity” resolution, acknowledging “the historical antecedents of systemic racism” and apologizing to residents for “racial injustices and long-lasting inequities that have resulted from those policies.” The unprecedented resolution also enumerates specific actions Council members will take, including to “promote racial equity through all policies approved by City Council” and “support community efforts to amplify concerns about racist policies and practices.”

Close the gap: Racial equity is fundamental to our health

There is so much in our hearts and minds following these tumultuous past few months and intense past few days. This is a moment to consider the causes of the consequences that are now on full display. It’s time to call out what led to such health disparities and what will it take to improve outcomes for all.

All Hands on Deck

When Covid-19 hit the US, we asked ourselves: Now that everyone is just trying to stay alive and save jobs, is Wellville just a distraction? We can’t just preach about the long term and what people want to achieve by the end of the Wellville project while they are busy responding to the short term. Instead, we tried a different question: How can we build a better long-term future even as we address current needs?

SAMHSA Evaluators Rave About Muskegon’s MYalliance

Officials with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration traveled to Muskegon at the end of August to review the progress of MYalliance System of Care (SOC), a collaboration between youth, families, schools, and other child-serving agencies to better serve youth with complex needs and their families. The SAMHSA evaluators were inspired by “visionary leadership across agencies and youth and families” and said their experience in Muskegon was “not their usual site visit.”

Notes from the annual Wellville Gathering

A this year’s Wellville Gathering, teams from the Wellville 5 communities explored what it will take to shift long-term thinking and action among institutions, people and systems.