North Hartford, CT | April 29-May 2, 2019
At the 2019 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.
Institutions: How can we drive institutional behavior change that aligns public and private resources for greater, more equitable positive impact?
People: How can we increase community agency that builds local leadership and equity?
Systems: How can we create an enabling environment that incentivizes health and smarter, longer-term investment
We kicked off the Gathering at Parker Memorial Community Center, which – thanks to the work done by the North Hartford team at last year’s Gathering – local civic leaders and a broad coalition of partners are working to transform into a coordinating hub to improve community wellbeing. A panel with some of the leaders who were instrumental in the Parker Memorial project – Liany Arroyo, Courtenay Jackson, Kim Oliver and Paul Dworkin – described how Parker Memorial functions as key piece of “the North Hartford Renaissance.”
That evening we cheered on the Hartford Yard Goats, AA minor-league baseball team, at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Built in 2017, the park straddles the border between downtown Hartford and North Hartford.
On the second day we gathered at Keney Park Pond House, which for decades has played host to countless community meetings and family celebrations. The 693-acre Keney Park was designed by renowned architectural firm of Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot.
At lunch, Henry Hester, local historian and head of Friends of Keney Park, gave us a guided walking tour. We also lucked out and welcomed Pat Kelly, founder of Ebony Horsewomen, a center for equine-assisted therapy that’s adjacent to the park.
That afternoon we visited the Swift Factory. Once a hub for Hartford industry, the former M. Swift and Sons gold leafing factory has stood vacant since 2005. In 2010 it was donated to national non-profit Community Solutions, which is partnering with the community to revitalize the building and spur job growth, economic development and community health in North Hartford.
PANEL: North Hartford Renaissance
The Parker Memorial community hub: building on assets to transform health and wellbeing in North Hartford.
ACTION LAB: Your W5 Stories—A History of the Past and the Future
W5 teams go to assigned Action Labs to create Gallery displays (using materials provided) that tell their Wellville stories so far and identify upcoming opportunities to apply what they’ve learned.
Everyone regroups to view the beginnings of the Gallery. What allowed these stories to happen? What will it take to create more stories we want to tell at the end of 2024?
PANEL: Tapping the $3.5-Trillion Opportunity
What Will it take to drive institutional behavior change within the healthcare system?
Wizdom Powell of UConn’s Health Disparities Institute describes how to frame stories and data to spur collective action.
ACTION LAB: How can we drive institutional behavior change that aligns public and private resources for greater impact?
W5 teams continue to create action plans and add to Gallery displays (with support from guests, by invitation).
KEYNOTE & DATA WALK: Framing Stories & Data for Collective Action
What will it take to increase community agency, leadership and equity? How can we use data to frame useful discussion and spark action?
Speaker: Wizdom Powell, University of Connecticut Health Disparities Institute
Since this Gathering marked the halfway mark of the Wellville project, we were sure to remind ourselves of the importance of recognizing the progress we’ve made; this is a marathon, not a sprint. This long-term thinking reflects a key pillar in the Wellville approach. Here are just a few recent successes by the Wellville 5: