By the YOW Leadership Team

As the second “Year of Wellness” draws to a close, we extend our gratitude to the community partners and volunteers who are helping to make Tillamook County a healthier place to live, work and play.  Through the efforts of YOW’s Education & Outreach committee, the 2017 YOW Theme of “Mind -Body Balance:  Being Well” ushered in several health education events organized and offered through YOW Committees and community partners.

Northwest Senior & Disability Services kicked off the year by bringing OSU bone health expert, Dr. Kathy Gunter to present in January.  Dr. Arlene Taylor, brain researcher, was the featured speaker in February, sponsored by Adventist Health.  In March, the YOW Nutrition committee held their “Eating Well, Being Well” workshop with nutrition expert Judy Barbe, sponsored by the Oregon Dairy & Nutrition Council, Oregon Food Bank Tillamook Services and OSU Extension.

April was a busy month with a campaign to “Move More” beginning with National Walking Day on the first Wednesday of April. Many local businesses and organizations participated in what is sure to be an annual event.  Our Early Learning Hub partnered with Northwest Parenting and the Tillamook Family YMCA to offer a very successful Healthy Kids Day event featuring a Lego Block Party.  The YOW Healthy Minds Team brought in speaker Ruth Wariner, to speak on her experiences of overcoming childhood trauma as featured in her book, The Sound of Gravel.

Our friends at the Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Institute (GOBHI) held an important Health Literacy event in North County in May and Tillamook Family Counseling Center’s (TFCC) Prevention Program began holding Community Conversations about problem gambling, substance use and suicide prevention.

YOW’s Active People & Healthy Communities committee worked hard all year to coordinate and promote programming that supports health and activity in Tillamook County.  The summer months brought great opportunities for being active outdoors thanks to the folks at Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP).  Their Explore Nature event series, featuring everything from hikes to bird watching to mushroom treks, offer an outstanding way to learn more about where we live while being physically active.  In addition, the Run Tillamook events drew thousands of walkers and runners from February through October.  The Rinehart Clinic held several “Staying Well” events promoting emergency preparedness and safety in partnership with the North County Recreation District.

Adventist Health held their final Huckleberry Health Fair in August.  In addition, Tillamook County Community Health Centers and Rinehart Clinic each held community health fairs, leading to many people getting needed screenings and follow up care.  In September, YOW promoted hunger awareness and the Tillamook Food Bank and Food Roots Food Drive.  YOW Healthy Minds partners, Columbia Pacific CCO and TFCC Prevention brought two important speakers in October, Charlie Slaughter’s Circle of Security Parenting Program and Robin Rose’s series of talks on healthy relationships and communication.

In November, YOW teamed up with Adventist Health to promote their annual “Diabetes and You” seminar.  Several excellent speakers presented on nutrition, movement, and balance as well as the effects of eye and dental health in the prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes. 

Throughout the year, YOW ran health promotion messages through many platforms.  The Headlight-Herald has generously featured a weekly Year of Wellness column.  YOW partners contribute articles related to national health awareness campaigns and important wellness topics, and the YOW Nutrition committee provided a weekly recipe.  This feature has helped highlight the resources, classes and events happening right here in our community that are relevant to our own citizens’ health needs.

Special thanks to KTIL for airing local public service announcements and monthly featuring YOW on Tillamook Today.  Tune in to KTIL 95.9 FM on the second Friday of each month from 9:30-10:00 a.m. to catch the latest YOW news.  Many of these recordings can be found on the YOW website along with video links to many of the 2017 events.

We thank Adventist Health, Tillamook Bay Community College and the Kiawanda Kapers for including YOW fitness classes and other health related information in their publications as well.  Being connected and getting involved in one’s community is a great way to stay healthy.  The Tillamook County Pioneer has been a terrific partner in helping to get the word out about YOW and other community partner events and activities.  The on-line community calendar,, is another great resource for information.  For a complete listing of wellness events, classes and blogs, visit the YOW website at or download the Tillamook YOW app.

As we look ahead to 2018, YOW’s mission to help Tillamook County residents be healthier and happier will continue with a focus on diabetes prevention.  With 10% of the population diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and another 25% or more that are pre-diabetic or undiagnosed, YOW’s programs will look to lessen the impacts of chronic disease.  With leadership of Tillamook County Commissioner Bill Baertlein and the continued collaboration of valued community partners, including Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and Oregon State University, YOW’s momentum continues to encourage Tillamook County to eat well, move well, live well and think well.

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About the Author : Laura Swanson