CHARA board members presented at the 45th Annual North American Primary Care Research Group Meeting. Held in Montreal, Canada in November 2017, Susan Lowe, Brooke Nicholls, and Rose Gunn presented the work of CHARA on behalf of the board. The oral presentation, entitled Building and Sustaining an Academic-Community Collaborative Amidst Health Reform: A Case Study of the Community Health Advocacy and Research Alliance (CHARA), was well-received by the international audience of clinicians, researchers, and patients.
CHARA members Suzanne Cross, Kristen Dillon, and Melinda Davis, recently helped conduct and publish the results of the "Finding the Right FIT" research study. This was a collaborative study funded by the Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program. Research was led by the Columbia Gorge Health council, CHARA, and the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network. The goal was to identify patient preferences in Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) characteristics. These tests are given to patients to complete at home and can help to identify people with early stage colorectal cancer. In rural areas, home-based testing is an important screening tool as patients may have barriers to colonoscopy screening such as availability of services, transportation, and cost.
Patients participated in testing six different kits and evaluated them through questionnaires and focus groups. The kits tested are shown below. Preferred tests were those that only required one sample, used a probe and vial for collection, and had simple instructions with large text and colorful pictures. Patients also stated the benefit of getting verbal instructions from care team members. These results will help clinics and health care providers make informed decisions about which FIT to use based on features that are preferred by patients. This could help to increase the number of tests that are completed by patients and facilitate early detection of colorectal cancer.
Link to full text article: http://www.jabfm.org/content/30/5/632.full
In the past three years the Columbia Gorge region has received more than $5 million in funding to support community-led initiatives that promote healthy living. This support was made possible by Providence Hospital which identified that the Gorge community lacked the necessary resources to obtain important grants that could better the health of the community. To address this problem, Providence hired a Collective Impact Health Specialist (CIHS) to work exclusively in the Gorge region. The CIHS collaborates with community members from different sectors to identify community needs, craft initiatives to address them, and pursue funding opportunities for implementation. In order to engage with an initiative the CIHS must collaborate with at least two community partners which builds a strong culture of collective responsibility and empowerment in the region.
In just three years the CIHS and community partners have made amazing strides. With their $5 million in funding they have initiated numerous programs including the Veggie Rx program in which people suffering from food insecurity (which includes a significant number of people living in the Gorge) can receive a “prescription” from their doctor which buys them $30 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables every month. The funding has also gone toward initiatives such as establishing a school-based health center, and training for more than 80 community health workers.
We are so proud of the work by the CIHS and Columbia Gorge community members and hope that their model can expand to promote health, happiness, collaboration, and empowerment in other parts of rural Oregon.
Inspired by an article by Paul Lindberg, JD, Collective Impact Health Specialist: http://bit.ly/2slNQoW
Learn more about the Veggie Rx program: http://www.gorgegrown.com/veggierx/
Healthier Living Comes To the Gorge: The Dalles To Become a Blue Zones Project Demonstration Community
In May 2017 The Dalles joined 31 other communities in the United States by becoming a member of the Blue Zones Project.
The Blue Zones Project began with five “blue zones”, special regions scattered across the globe with unusually high concentrations of residents living to at least 100 years old. Researchers identified the keys to their healthy living and longevity, and since then the Blue Zones Project has been spreading their healthy practices across the United States by supporting change in policy, social networks, and environments such as workplaces and schools. This project will span three years in The Dalles, and aims to promote healthier living, lower healthcare costs, and encourage community engagement by making healthy lifestyle decisions easy and accessible to all community members.
Oregon Healthiest State, an organization committed to making Oregon the healthiest state in the country, backed The Dalles’ initiation into the Blue Zones Project, and Cambia Health Foundation provided substantial funding. We are excited to see The Dalles lead the way in creating a healthier Oregon and hope that it can inspire more regions in Oregon to take steps toward healthier living too.
Learn more about the Blue Zones Project: https://communities.bluezonesproject.com/
Learn more about the Blue Zones Project in OR: https://oregon.bluezonesproject.com/
The Columbia Gorge Region was recently awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize in recognition for the region's efforts towards ensuring all residents have the opportunity to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives, and its commitment to collaboration. CHARA’s medical director, Kristen Dillon, and Paul Lindberg from Providence Hood River Hospital represented the region at the RWJF Culture of Health Prize National Celebration and Learning Event this week in Princeton, New Jersey. Click the button below to view the event and watch Kristen and Paul share about the region's success and approach with the RWJF President/CEO and Culture of Health Prize Director (skip to 26:00-38:00 to watch specific content on the Gorge).
Chosen from nearly 200 communities across the country, the Columbia Gorge’s selection stems from its success in bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health, drawing especially on the wisdom, voice, and experience of residents. The Columbia Gorge region is one of seven communities awarded the Prize in 2016.
A big thanks to the 15-member Community Advisory Council (CAC), Veggie Rx program, The Next Door, and all of the other community led initiatives, community leaders, and volunteers that have united our community in a strive to increase health and inclusion for all in our region. Keep up the great work!