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/