before the pandemic, 2015 Health Award Winner Community Culture The “Be a Buddy” system called for volunteers from local universities to investigate, provide resources, and build relationships with individuals who distrust government programs to protect people from heat exhaustion. With strong ties, once COVID-19 hit, the project agreed to assist people during the shutdown.
“Flexibility takes practice,” Tirado said.
finding common ground
At the beginning of the pandemic, 2019 Health Award-winning Community Culture Lake County, Colo.set up a committee to address the needs of people who don’t qualify for government assistance but still struggle with things like housing and utility bill payments. The committee refers people in need to various service agencies, which review cases and provide financial assistance. The Unmet Needs Committee was on track to pay half a million dollars in housing and utility bills by the end of 2020, said Katie Baldassari, executive director of Lake County building a generation, which conducts research on social issues in the community, opens communication between stakeholders, and raises funds for programs. The group has long-established partnerships with residents of the county’s built-up housing communities, who have organized where they live for better health and safety.
To be able to respond to the pandemic in an inclusive manner, the county needs to bridge the gap between people and groups with differing political views. These groups included businesses, non-profits, social services and other government agencies. For example, the owner of a manufactured housing community increased the rent during the pandemic. In response, the committee wrote a letter to elected officials saying it was not the time to raise the rent, noting how community members were grappling with the uncertainty of lost wages or jobs. Some officials initially did not believe that the government should interfere in private business decisions. However, the committee persuaded policymakers to send letters, based on a common desire to maximize taxpayer dollars and keep families in the county’s rental assistance programs.
“We realized that we had really different ideas about how to solve these problems and different mental models about how the world works,” Baldassar said, “so we had to account for those differences.” Had to learn to talk about it in a way that could deepen those relationships. break them. I think being able to do that has brought us closer as a community.”
ensuring the well-being of a community
Santa Monica, Calif., proved that developing health-equity equipment in normal times can make operations run more smoothly during a crisis. before the pandemic, 2016 Culture of Health Award Winner Community a “designedwellbeing index“To measure how people are doing, from their sense of community to their opportunities for health and economic opportunities. For example, said Lisa Parson, Special Assistant for Equity and Community Recovery, do they have frequent social interactions? Can they afford medical services and accommodation?
Parson said the index, used regularly for long-term planning, also informed the city’s pandemic-response efforts. The data they had already gathered showed where to turn for help and guidance. For example, in a neighborhood where residents had the lowest health ratings, partly due to food insecurity, the city started a food pantry. The city has also promoted communication with its local non-profit and business partners. Together they have solved new problems emerging during the pandemic, such as keeping restaurants open through open-air dining or offering food delivery to comply with pandemic guidelines.
creating an inclusive response
At the beginning of the pandemic, Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe – A 2016 Health Award Winning Community Culture– Was already well positioned to leverage the strengths of the community to respond in an inclusive manner. The tribe’s location in the Tsunami Zone, an area of the Pacific Coast that is at risk for tidal waves, has forced the tribe to focus on emergency preparedness and plan for most types of crises – including a pandemic. is.
In the early days of COVID-19, the tribe’s crisis plan enabled it to quickly open a food pantry so families could get food without leaving reservations, try out in their community garden, and prepare and distribute meals. Hire more kitchen staff. Elders.
According to Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe Planner Jamie Judkins, another secret of the tribe’s success was to establish communication quickly. “Any communication is important – making sure you have opportunities for people to come and share ideas and build a good solid foundation for wellbeing,” Judkins said.
addressing economic conditions
for about five years, Spartanburg County, SC, 2015 Culture of Health Award Winning Communityhas placed an emphasis on race, equality and inclusion in its health and social services efforts, said Paige Stephenson, president and CEO of United Way of the Piedmont. So, when COVID-19 exacerbated existing inequalities in access to health care, education and economic stability, she said, “we doubled.”
The pandemic triggered discussions that had long been in the community, such as improving broadband infrastructure and access. “It’s become clear to our local leadership that we really need to focus on this,” Stephenson said.
Improvement in child care infrastructure has gained new urgency for this community with a large workforce in manufacturing, which happens round the clock. Stephenson and others have consulted with other communities that have a track record of providing reliable 24/7 child care.
“Child care is an invisible base for the workforce,” she said.
They show how important it is to not only provide immediate crisis relief, but to work towards long-term change by increasing access to affordable housing, decent wages, food, child care and broadband.
Award-winning communities highlight what is possible when community leaders and residents unite to leverage the strengths of the community and remove barriers to a fair and just opportunity for health. All. Their responses to COVID-19 demonstrate the importance of collaborating and adopting a data-informed and inclusive approach. They show how important it is to not only provide immediate crisis relief, but to work towards long-term change by increasing access to affordable housing, decent wages and food.
We are grateful that award-winning communities share their stories with those who can and can learn from them. Since 2013, RWJF has introduced . have worked with University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute Choose carefully the places that meet our criteria To promote better health for all. This is one of the highlights of our year show winners, whose spirit of collaboration and commitment to change is truly inspiring. We would love to introduce them Examples of building a culture of health to the rest of the country.
This year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have postponed the awarding of the 2020 Culture of Health Prize. Instead, we will pick them this year along with the 2021 winners.
Learn more about award-winning communities, visit www.rwjf.org/prize. We look forward to sharing more examples of award winners in future posts and hope that you will be inspired to take action in your community.
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