Health Summit narrows focus for 2009

The Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation expanded its mission in 2006 to support a wider base of health initiatives on the Plateau area, beyond the hospital. As a part of the expanded mission, the ERHF initially sponsored a health survey to identify the health care needs of our community through interviews, focus groups and community surveys. From this information, the first Health Summit was sponsored in September 2007, to bring together organizations, government officials and community members who were interested in improving the health of the Plateau community.

The first summit reviewed the results of the interviews and surveys and attendees divided into six focus groups to brainstorm ideas to address the issues our community felt was important. Also, three $1,000 grants were awarded by the ERHF, to local organizations for projects dedicated to improving healthcare.

After the first summit, many ideas were discussed and valuable connections were made between health and human services providers within our community.

The second summit, sponsored in October 2008 by the foundation, was to continue the momentum created by the initial fact-finding and discussions. The focus of the second summit was a call to action. After brainstorming and identifying the issues of health and services on the Plateau during the first summit, the second summit focused on choosing three topics of need and creating very tangible action items to be developed during the coming year.

The three groups focused on:

1 – Alcohol and drug abuse

2 – Accessing health and human services information for the Plateau

3 – Access to mental health services in our community

From these three groups several action items were created.

The new Health and Human Services Resource Book, developed by the Enumclaw Human Services Advisory Board and published through a grant by the ERHF, was decided to be created in Web site form and linked online to all appropriate community organizations to help distribute information to community residents.

The mental health group discussed collaborating with the Enumclaw School District and mental health services, working with identified families of need.

The alcohol and drug focus group will be working on developing a community-based action committee and reviewing the potential for taxi rides home in our area, underwritten by grant funds.

The most important aspect of the summit was the networking of so many stakeholders in our community dedicated to the delivery of health and human services. Attendees asked to meet twice a year if possible, because getting everyone together was so valuable to the work we are all dedicated to providing to our community.

Annie Casey is founder and Managing Director of the Enumclaw Wellness Center and Health and Wellness Manager for Costco Wholesale. She has a master’s degree in exercise physiology from the University of Washington. She is a Certified Exercise Specialist and has been in the health and fitness industry for 30 years. She worked as Director of the Heart Care Center in Auburn and was elected to the status of Fellow in the American Association of Cardio-Pulmonary Rehabilitation. She has also been a national speaker on a variety of health topics and research projects in heart/lung rehabilitation.

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