Improving Population Health through Community Collaboration
By Robin Iszler, RN, and Tami Dillman, MBA
Central Valley Health District became an accredited local health department in August of 2015. In the past two years, the agency has worked diligently to build upon existing relationships and enhance community collaboration to address community health priorities by focusing on multi-sector engagement. Funding from the PPHS block grant was received by CVHD to support activities to promote physical activity as a way to reduce chronic disease risk factors by improving and encouraging active transportation network (walking) in Jamestown.
The grant brought together several nontraditional partners to work towards a common goal of improving the active transportation network in Jamestown. Central Valley Health District, Jamestown Public Schools and Jamestown Park and Rec departments had met to discuss the current state of sidewalks in the northeast part of the city near the Jamestown High School, Gussner Elementary and the newly built Two Rivers Activity Center. It was determined that there was a need for increased sidewalks in this area of the city because there are 2,179 students are enrolled in Jamestown Public School District. 53.4% or 1,165 students attend three schools (Lincoln Elementary, Gussner Elementary and Jamestown High School) in the northeast area of the city. By connecting Jamestown High School, TRAC and Gussner Elementary Schools with sidewalks 81% or 931 students would have the ability to walk and/or bike between the three locations in a safe and healthy manner.
With the assistance of the PPHS grant, Central Valley Health District, Unit Administrator was able to dedicate time to convene the partners, and collect information needed to write the Transportation Alternative grant. The grant was submitted in December 2016 and notice of award was received in May 2017 with construction to take place in 2018.
Additionally, there have been several small walking improvements made within the city of Jamestown. Central Valley also completed a grant for Everybody Walks. This grant enhanced walking opportunities within Jamestown by providing signs for the local parks, Civic Center, and downtown walking path. These signed areas now guide the public to areas to walk in the city and provide mileage information and also connect to the Talking Trail which is an active listening trail that provides walkers with the history of the city. In 2017, 1738 unique callers spent 130 hours listening and walking on the talking trail that intersects with the downtown walking path and city park trails. Over all the following numbers are seen as a success to increase walking within Jamestown. 457 Facebook shares in September 2017, 2473 walking brochures distributed, community walking events in 2017 included the Running of the Pink held in June with 567 participants in 2017 and approximately 600 in 2016; the TRAC 5K walk/run event held in July with 50 participants. The New Year New You Challenge is a community event, in January of 2016 there were 286 participants and 391 in 2017 that participated.
Central Valley Health District in Jamestown, North Dakota, was awarded national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board on August 4, 2015.
About the authors: Robin Iszler, RN, is Unit Administrator and Tami Dillman, MBA, Accreditation Coordinator, at Central Valley Health District in Jamestown, North Dakota. Contact them at [email protected].
Other major benefits gained as a result of going through the accreditation process:
Leveraged resources to align with community health priorities
Enhanced QI to build on strengths and weaknesses
Increased accountability and strengthening community partnerships
Improvement in providing quality public health services