Time flies when you are working on wellness! It’s hard to believe the “Year of Wellness” (now Tillamook County Wellness) is still going strong as it winds down its fourth year. So often, community coalitions are a flash-in-the-pan, dependent on government funding or grants, only to fizzle out when the well runs dry.

We’ve adopted a slightly different approach here in Tillamook County. We’ve developed a shared vision of improving the health of our community. Over these past four years, we’ve built an ever-expanding coalition of community partners who are willing to devote their time, treasure and talents to keep this work moving forward.

The most significant of these contributions comes from our backbone agency, the Tillamook County Community Health Centers and Public Health Department. They are keeping the wheels on the bus, so to speak, by providing coordination and fiscal oversight to the project. It is important to note that these funds do not come from the county’s general fund but rather from the clinic itself.

Another significant contribution this year, came from a generous donation by Adventist Health, Tillamook. Many of our partners have donated vital resources to our continued operation. These are often in-kind, such as all the paid staff time organizations devote to the coordination, planning, and programming involved in changing community health from the ground up.

Our media partners have also helped us get the word out through their contributions of “earned media.” We enjoy monthly interviews on KTIL’s Tillamook Today show (Shameless plug – tune in to 95.9 FM at 9:30 AM on the 2nd Friday of each month for Wellness news!) If you are reading this article, then you are probably aware of the countless inches of newspaper space the Headlight Herald has gifted us through our weekly Wellness column over the past few years. And the Tillamook County Pioneer provides this same level of generous coverage on-line. We are truly blessed indeed. These relationships allow us to devote our limited cash resources to things like community wellness programming, trail building and improved access to nutrition.

The leadership and support of our County Commissioners, Task Force and committee co-chairs, as well as from our leadership team are what keeps the wellness bus on the road and heading in the right direction. Representatives from Oregon State University Extension, Family & Community Health and Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) have provided vital services, bringing outside expertise to our local efforts. Through this partnership, we hosted several national experts in the areas of coalition building, community health and diabetes prevention from May through October of this year. The knowledge gained from these workshops has been put to use by our committees as they design specific action plans for 2019 and beyond, a process which is wrapping up at the time of this publication.

The tireless and selfless nature of our coalition partner and volunteer efforts has not gone unnoticed. In October of this year, Tillamook County Wellness was awarded the Oregon Health Authority “Place Matters” Organization Leadership Award. This statewide level of recognition validates that we are truly headed down the right road. It has invigorated our team to press on and see how significant of an impact we can make on improving the health of our county residents.

Focused on reducing risk for Type 2 Diabetes, our Wellness Action Committees include: Access to Healthy Food, Access to Physical Activity, Health Promotion, Health Screenings and Workplace Wellness. For a list of our coalition partners, visit our Community Partner page. If you’d like to join in this work or make a donation, contact tillamookcountywellness@gamil.com. For more information about Tillamook County Wellness, visit our website tillamookcountyhealthmatters.org and remember to Like and Follow us on our Tillamook County Wellness Facebook page.

 

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About the Author : Michelle