Greater Sullivan County Commission on Wellness
With the support of a $40,000 grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Communities United has teamed up with the Sullivan County Commissioners and the Regional Public Health Network for a nine-month effort to work together to create a healthier Sullivan County.
The Commission on Wellness is assembled to develop a county-wide collaborative system that continually improves the health and socio-economic climate of the community. This group met three times between January and June 2012 to establish priority areas, goals, and a plan-of-action to create a healthier community. The goal is to utilize current collaborative systems and community strengths to collectively tackle priority areas.
The health and wellness of our community is the focus of the new Sullivan County Commission on Wellness. The commission, a group led by the Commissioners of Sullivan County, assembled on January 31, 2012 to develop a countywide collaborative system that continually improves the health and socio-economic climate of the community. The 40 attendees from various non-profit, business, government, enforcement, faith, and education backgrounds reviewed the strengths and obstacles within the county regarding the health and wellness of the community. The Commission will now use this data to develop priority areas from which to work. With a goal of sustainability, the priorities will be steps toward wellness which piggy-back on the collaborative systems already in play throughout the county. Our many assets include: outdoor recreation, our park system, a dental initiative, sidewalk initiatives, school vegetable gardens and farmers markets which show that we have the opportunity to become a vibrant, healthy community. Over the past few years, Sullivan County has developed a progressive county jail system, has lowered the drug and alcohol abuse among teens, and has approved a new recreation center in Claremont. As a small county with easy access to the enforcement, governmental, educational and employment sectors we are poised to turn the tide to see a restored Sullivan County.
Commission Name Change
Through an effort to combine and collaborate services with the region’s Public Health Network, the name of the Sullivan County Commission on Wellness has changed to the Greater Sullivan County Commission on Wellness. As the Department of Health and Human Services has requested the Public Health Network and the Prevention Networks begin the process to align fiscally, and many common factors exist between the work of the two entities, we saw it equitable to expand the scope of the Commission on Wellness to include the towns of Wilmot, New London, Newbury, and Sutton. The outcomes of the Commission will impact both entities and serve as a resource for further focus and work.
The Commission was built upon two assumptions, 1) The region has larger obstacles to wellness that organizations/entities cannot tackle alone and, 2) Organizations/entities within the region desire to tackle and overcome these larger obstacles but are currently unable to do so. Therefore a group was formed, based upon the Communities that Care model of fostering community collaboration to formulate a Community Action Plan, to simply be a catalyst for collaboration.
The members of the Commission have developed a “priority list” based upon the compiled components of a healthy community to be a starting point from which to strengthen the collaborative process. The priority list includes focusing on decreasing drug and alcohol abuse, unhealthy sexual activity, obesity, gaining adequate and affordable access to mental health, physical health, and substance abuse care, increasing employment, transportation, and affordable housing. The Commission exposed an array of contributing factors to each of these priority areas, and subsequently identified local factors, asking “Why here and now”, for each contributing factor. As the strategic planning process developed a clearer community profile from the components of a healthy community, the next step will be to examine the collaborative process and take a look at how we can all work together to tackle these bigger issues which we could not tackle individually.
To view the “Priority List” developed by the Commission click HERE.