Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Update

Dear Community Partners and Key Stakeholders,
April was a busy month. Many of you participated with the YWCA in it's Stand Against Racism. As of Thursday, April 27th there were 49 different groups in Buncombe County registered for this year's Stand, out of 490 registered events in the entire country. The community also showed up to join Buncombe County HHS and the Family Justice Center for an evening with Mia Birdsong with close to 400 participants. The month brought lots of workgroup momentum and technical support to partners. May may be even busier, with many opportunities to show up, be heard, learn and support our CHIP work.

Double Up Food Bucks should begin a soft launch in 2 weeks. In the meantime, if you would like to post or distribute materials to help promote DUFB at your organization, please contact Nicole Hinebaugh to discuss the type and number of materials that you could use. They are in the process of putting together a printing order.

There are a number of opportunities coming up for public input into state (and local) issues. The NC Department of Health and Human Services has scheduled a public input sessions Medicaid and NC Healthy Choice reform and will be in Asheville on May 12th. The NC Department of Transportation will be hosting a community workshops to provide input into the State's Strategic Public Transportation Plan (bus, paratransit and rail service) on May 11th.
 Read about these and more on our Engage blog page.

Racial Equity Institute is back in Asheville with their Phase 1 Workshop on May 19th and 20th.  This 2-day workshop provides a foundation and understanding for communities to come together and work on the complex and complicated issue of racism.  On May 16th, during the annual Strive Not to Drive Week there is an opportunity to participate in a Walk the Talk session along Coxe Avenue led by a transportation planner with expertise in ensuring streets meet the needs of seeing impaired and other mobility challenges.  You'll also get an opportunity to experience what some of Coxe Avenue will look like with planned Complete Street changes.  Some of you will also want to Save the Date or register to participate in a June 19th session to provide input into NC's Community Health Worker Initiative. find them listed on our Learn Blog Page.  

There are several opportunities to support our partners in CHIP this month including the 8th annual Walk a Mile to raise awareness about domestic violence and support Our Voice.  There are also multiple partners with job openings...spread the word! Learn more on our Support page.

New to the Resources You Can Use this month is a Community Engagement Toolkit from Collective Impact and a great one-pager on the difference between advocacy and lobbying from NACCHO (National Association of City and County Health Officers).

Please continue to share your needs for support, resources and information to help us all be successful in our work together! Update items should be emailed to Terri the 3rd week of the month. Items can be added to the blog or Facebook at any time. Also note, just like any public blog, you are free to use the comment space below each post to share additional information or opinions!

In appreciation of all you do!

Deanna, Lourdes & Terri

Friday, February 24, 2017

April Update

Dear Community Partners and Key Stakeholders,
In March our CHIP Advisory learned about exciting efforts in Louisville Kentucky to use the arts as a platform for engaging community and positively impacting health.  Buncombe County Health and Services is working with Kentucky and several other communities to explore how we can use this approach locally. You'll find the PowerPoint from that presentation as well as additional handouts on the right-hand toolbar under Meeting Advisory Materials.

In the public health world, March is a time for reflecting on our community's progress over the past year. BCHHS submitted it's annual State of the County Report to the NC Division of Public Health earlier this month and CHIP advisory members received a brief overview of that reports content. While this is a Buncombe County deliverable, much of our work with CHIP is reflected in this document.  The national County Health Rankings were released this Wednesday.  There was much to be proud of in this report.  We rank #5 among NC in Health Factors that includes health care (where we ranked #2 in the state) as well as health behaviors (with a rank of #7),  Our air quality is steadily improving and we moved from a rank of #49, up from #69 in our physical environment. Concerning is our overall slip in our placement among NC's 100 counties fro 14 to 25.  And while you clearly understand how complex the factors impacting the health of communities are, what stands out the most are slight increases in premature deaths (those before the age of 75), perceptions of poorer health, a significant disparity in infant mortality in our African American families and increases in social and economic disparities. You'll find a link to the Buncombe County's press release here.

We will need your help this month as the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council launches the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) pilot, although we still don't have a start date as of yet.  The required waiver by the USDA to "incentivize" SNAP benefits uncovered a software challenge for Mother Earth Produce so they have stepped aside to allow the West Village Market become the second pilot for this first phase.(note correction since originally posted).  As soon waivers are received we will send you dates and promotional materials to share with your communities. You can read more on our Food Security Blog page. There are several opportunities to engage in conversations about race and inequity. The YWCA of Asheville invites you to join them for their annual Stand Against Racism campaign pril April 27-30th.  For deeper conversations and to gain deeper understanding of racism and and how you can work toward eliminating racism in our community, please consider registering for the Asheville Racial Equity Institute being offered May 19-20 Engage blog page.

We've been really excited by the tremendous interest by our partners in learning how to use the Results Based Accountability to support and better align our CHIP work across the county.  CHIP staff hosted 18 partners and community organizations last week for another Getting to Results Training.  Continue to let us know of interest in further training opportunities.  In the meantime, WNC Healthy Impact regularly hosts quarterly trainings throughout the region and you will always find them listed on our Learn Blog Page.  

Hopefully this is already on your calendars, but please don't forget to join the Family Justice Center and Buncombe County Partnership for Children for community conversation on how your actions create positive change, featuring Mia Birdsong and the voices of our neighbors and community members. The event will be at the Diana Wortham the evening of April 25th. You'll find many more opportunities for professional development and learning this month on our Learn page, including Blue Cross Blue Shields Nonprofit Leadership Academy (applications due April 15th), a conference on the Many Faces of Heroin and Opioid Addiction in Rocky Mount on April 23 and coming in early June, a two-day Community Resiliency Model Training.

There are several opportunities to support our partners in CHIP this month.  Children First/Community in Schools will host their annual "Are you Smarter Than an Elementary Student" on April 20th at the Morris Hellenic Cultural Center. Loads of fun for a good cause! Pisgah Legal has a campaign underway to match funds from an anonymous donor by April 20th to support their“Justice For All Project” to help eligible immigrants secure work authorization and legal status and other needs. Our Voice, Helpmate, Children First and Pisgah Legal all have job openings that would appreciate you sharing. Learn more on our Support page.

We also want to remind you that you can quickly access the scorecard for your data needs through the link at the upper right toolbar on the Blog page.  If you are still uncomfortable navigating the CHIP scorecard, don't forget the short video tutorial that you see at the top of the scorecard. If you are looking for additional data, visit the priority-specific scorecards.  The HIS staff also monitor many additional indicators and are available for assistance if you need help finding the data you need.


Deanna, Lourdes and Terri
CHIP Health Improvement Specialists

Monday, January 30, 2017

February Update

Dear Community Partners and Key Stakeholders,

In December 2015 we selected our Community Health Priorities and began the work of our 3-year CHIP cycle.  Over the past 14 months we have worked with approaching 200 community partners.  With our priority workgroups we have identified the results we plan to work toward and some exciting strategies and action plans are being developed. 

Buncombe County is extremely blessed to have many organizations doing great work. What CHIP has contributed is a new framework for bringing diverse partnerships together that starts with with insuring we are all using a common language and a shared way of evaluation that focuses on "is anyone better off".  The CHIP process doesn't seek to develop new programs or initiatives (although sometimes this happens), rather to build on existing strengths and resources for the greatest collective impact. And enthusiasm for this approach is growing.  Our partners have asked for additional training on how to use this approach within their own organizations and next months "Getting to Results" Training has 43 partners signed up with a waiting list.

Here are a few highlights from the CHIP work so far:
  • Food Security: A Double Up Food Bucks pilot that will bring SNAP matching dollars for the purchase of local produce is set to launch this spring, benefiting food insecure families but also local farmers and local economy.  The Food Security Workgroup is beginning the process to form a collaborative around education and skill building to promote health eating and food security for the purpose increasing efficiency and effectiveness of existing efforts as well as to identify and fill gaps. Partners include the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council and Bountiful Cities (lead organizations), NC Cooperative Extension, Buncombe County Health & Human Services, The French Broad Food Coop, Mother Earth Produce, MAHEC, & YES!  Mountain Wise is a partner for an additional Pilot in Waynesville. Click here for a one-pager on the pilot and CHIP's role. Visit our Food Security Blog for more about our workgroup activities.
  • Safe & Accessible Transportation - The initial Open Streets Asheville was a huge success with 1500 joining us in the streets to play, be active, and learn about organizations and efforts to make Buncombe County healthier.  Planning for 2017 is getting started with efforts to engage more diverse voices in this process and truly grow Open Streets Asheville into a tool for community-building and furthering the result of Safe and Accessible Transportation for all.  The workgroup was very involved in efforts to educate and inform the community about the Asheville Bond referendum.  The Bond measure passed by a wide margin which will bring significant dollars for transportation and recreation infrastructure.  
  • Diabetes: Clinical efforts to engage with community and refer to the high quality community-based program is gaining traction. In particular, pharmacist and research collaboration are participating in workgroup efforts. Shared data is beginning to be collected and the Diabetes Workgroup and partners are being integrated into some substantive diabetes grant initiatives.
  • Intimate Partner Violence: The Opening of the Family Justice Center has had a huge impact on our community in supporting woman and families impacted by violence. CHIP staff are now providing leadership in development of an IPV Comprehensive Prevention Plan and are also working with the Family Justice Center to revisit the focus group process that took place before the center opened to assess impact.
  • Infant Mortality: The visit of Dr. Arthur James to Asheville was a powerful event in our community and the workgroup has spent a lot of time learning from the successes in Michigan in reducing health disparities in infant mortality (information from his visit can be found on our Infant Mortality Blog).  A visit to Kalamazoo helped us learn more and a collaboration around home visiting with pregnant or newly parenting women to look at capacity, gaps and how we can better serve our community. An advocacy agenda has also been drafted.  
  • Substance Abuse:   MAHEC's FITSU program is moving forward with efforts to expand the number of primary care providers (especially in rural counties) who dispense suboxone for medically assisted treatment of opioid addiction—which significantly increases success of treatment. Vaya Health is also now convening regional umbrella structure to support and coordinate efforts to combat substance use disorder in its 23-county region.  FITSU and Mission's coalition on substance use in pregnancy are part of this.  
Leadership for the CHIP Advisory has recently engaged in some strategic planning and in the upcoming year we hope to focus more on meaningful ways to engage the many skills, resources and connections of our leadership to move this work forward.

We are excited to introduce our newest team member, Lourdes Lorenz-Miller! Lourdes steps into the role held by Deborah Calhoun before she moved to United Way.  She will be the lead for the Infant Mortality and Substance Abuse priorities.  Visit our CHIP staff page to learn more about Lourdes.


Deanna, Lourdes and Terri
CHIP Health Improvement Specialists

Monday, December 19, 2016

January Update

Holiday Greetings to the CHIP Advisory Board and Partners from your Leadership Team!

We have a unique model in Buncombe County that we are particularly proud of, energized by, and thankful to be a part of. Every North Carolina health department is required to produce a community health assessment (CHA) and subsequent action plan. Most accomplish this with the help of a local coalition. In our county and region, we chose to broaden our perspective with the Community Health Improvement Process (CHIP) and to assure an intentional connection with our health systems across our region. The result is called WNC Healthy Impact, which is the foundation of our CHIP structure and is the organizational effort that brought hospitals and health departments across a 16-county region together in a very intentional way to orchestrate a model CHA/CHIP process. 

Additionally, Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) holds a unique contract with MAHEC that supports the Health Improvement Specialists.  This partnership with MAHEC has enabled the community health improvement process to be richer and farther reaching, as well as to build a stronger connection between community health and health care. BCHHS has had a longstanding relationship with our Mission partners around the CHA/CHIP and that has only grown stronger through Healthy Impact and the HHS-MAHEC partnership. The CHIP Leadership Team is a reflection of the HHS, MAHEC, Mission partnership working closely with the elected Chair and Co-Chair of the Advisory Board.  We are proud of our model and hope you are as well.

The leadership team will be undertaking a strategic planning process in January. Remaining a strong, relevant and productive coalition requires periodic assessment of ourselves. Much like the strategic planning session the CHIP Advisory did in 2015, this will focus on the leadership team in an effort to continue to improve effectiveness and advisory board leadership.

We are also pleased to introduce Zo Mpofu, pictured lower front left. Zo is one of the latest additions to Health and Human Services, sitting in Public Health and reporting to the Health Director, Jan Shepard.  Zo will serve as a Program Consultant for the CHA/CHIP process. Zo will also sit on the CHIP 
Leadership Team and you will see her at CHIP Advisory Board meetings. She will work closely with our Health Improvement Specialists and MAHEC as we continue through our CHA/CHIP cycle.  You will meet Zo and learn more about her at our next CHIP board meeting.  We are also pleased to report that the second round of interviews is underway for the Health Improvement Specialist position and we expect to have our new team member on board by mid January or early February.

We will not meet as a full board in January on 1/5/17, so please take that meeting off your calendar. The leadership team will communicate with the full board after the strategic planning session.

We wish to thank all of you for your dedication to community health improvement. We have had a productive year in which each of you have contributed greatly. The process of community health improvement is not a quick one, and your tireless efforts to remain engaged is remarkable. Have a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to seeing you in 2017!


Jan, Zo, Sonya, Allison, Stephanie, and Frank

Monday, November 28, 2016

December Update

Dear Community Partners and Key Stakeholders,

The Monday before Thanksgiving is Public Health Thank you Day, a day to recognize and celebrate public health professionals. While likely only a small number of you consider yourselves public health professionals, we believe that every one of you are a part of driving public health efforts in our community. YOU are public health and we want to make sure that you know how very much we value your partnership in this work. Thank you for all you do!

A timely thank you "post-election" is for your support in educating and getting the spreading the word about the Asheville Bond Referendum which passed by a huge margin. We'll keep you posted as projects related to our CHIP work begin to unfold. Details on what is included in the Bond can still be found on the City's Bond information page.

Today is "Giving Tuesday" the global day dedicated to giving back. This month Engage and Support come together in that we hope you will find a way to give back to our community while also supporting the work of our partners.  We apologize if we have left any organizations or opportunities off and ask that you send us information that we can add to the lists.

Interviews are underway for the Health Improvement Position vacated by Deborah's move to United Way and we expect to fill this position by the end of the year.  If you have questions about the work around our Substance Abuse or Infant Mortality priority work, feel free to contact Deanna or myself.  We have a transition plan in place and if all goes as expected, we should not loose any momentum in this work.  The position is still opened until filled, so if you know of a good candidate please let us. You can find the information on our Support page.

In Learn we have posted the link to a 2-part series from the American Public Health Association on the Impact of Race on Health and Well-being. WNC Healthy Impact also has another upcoming Getting to Results on using the RBA framework in January.

And once again, don't forget that our Facebook Page for more timely information. Please like our page if you haven't already and share our posts.


Deanna, and Terri
CHIP Health Improvement Specialists

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

November CHIP Update

Dear Community Partners and Key Stakeholders,

In October, many of us had the privilege to attend Pisgah Legal Services Poverty Forum. Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund spoke on Ending Child Poverty Now. This powerful event reminds us that, with close to 1 in 5 of children in Buncombe County living in poverty, all of our work is intricately connected to child poverty. In a
 Mountain Xpress article covering the event, Advisory Board member Jaclyn Kiger highlights our CHIP process as on of the creative ways our community is addressing the health impact of child poverty. 

Ms. Edleman underscores the heart of our work in her remarks that “American children in poverty didn’t ask to be born,” she said. They didn’t choose their parents or their neighborhoods... And because of where they live, they attend poorer schools, have fewer safe places to play and are less likely to have a nurturing relationship with a caregiver after school. They get less exercise and have less access to nutritious food because their neighborhoods likely don’t have grocery stores or restaurants that serve healthy food. In addition, their homes are more likely to have mold, lead and other contaminants that make them sick or sicker.

If you missed the event, the Asheville Channel taped Ms. Edelman remarks and you can view the video.

In particular as we approach the 2nd Tuesday in November, Ms. Edleman reminds us that The best, most practical solution to poverty in America lies with the voters...Get to the voting booth, she said. Your vote connects right to children. So much is riding on this.

As we move toward making the blog our "go-to" resource for all things CHIP. You will now find a link to the CHIP Advisory meeting agenda and materials on the righthand menu bar. The calendar also includes our meeting dates with a link to the agenda and materials. As we identify future meeting topics they will also be noted on our calendar (this will be discussed at our upcoming CHIP Advisory meeting). Workgroup meetings are also listed. If you have events you would like to include on the calendar, please contact Terri to post.
Now that everyone is beginning to explore the scorecard, we've been asked about how the scorecard shows the progress being made toward addressing our priorities. This is mostly shown via data which doesn't change frequently. The Action Plan section of the scorecard is a little unweldy to use and doesn't provide much detail and we want to keep narrative sections short. We've now added links to the Priority area blogsites for discussion on the progress of the workgroups. You can also find them listed on the right-hand menu bar. Please note these blogs are updated on an "as needed" basis and content may change more or less frequently than the main CHIP page.

It is both with congratulations and sadness that we announce Deborah Calhoun's move to United Way as the Community Partnerships Director! Deborah has been an amazing and talented part of our HIS team and we will miss her tremendously! However, we know that her role at United Way will allow for opportunities to work together and her experience with CHIP may provide the foundation for possibilities that we haven't yet considered. Therefore our Support request for this month, is for you to help us find a talented new CHIP Health Improvement Specialist! We expect the position to be posted shortly. However, the Job Description is found on our Support page as well as a link to the MAHEC employment opportunities webpage.

Please take a few minutes to read our additional Update featured sections this month to find out what you can do to share information that supports our CHIP priorities and partners.

This months
 Engage continues to focus on the City of Asheville Bond Referendum on the November Ballot with funding slated to support critical affordable housing, transportation and recreation needs. We also focus on the general election. To echo Ms. Edelman, our votes connect back to our children. So do whatever you can to help get to the polls those who may have difficulty voting or not be inclined to do so and our page includes some helpful hints as well as the 2016 Voter Guide.

 Learn you'll find an upcoming training later this week on how to use the Community Resiliency Model (CRM) to address physiological reactions to stress and trauma. You'll also have an opportunity to learn about a global resiliency effort at a film screening of When I Was Young I Said I Would Be Happy, A transformational story of 12 Rwandan genocide survivors. The event will support a Mt. Kilmanjaro climb and efforts to raise awareness and take steps to end the cycle of generational trauma while creating new patterns of peaceful living. Finally, we have posted information on a pre-recorded 3-part series on health equity by the Community Health Institute that appears to be quite comprehensive.

As always, check our the Resources You Can Use Page space has several new resources this month including two that can inform your work around equity issues, and resources from the Food Research Council on ending hunger and from CDC on policies to address social determinants of health.

And once again, don't forget that our
Facebook Page is where we provide more timely information.
Please share your needs for support, resources and information to help us all be successful in our work together! Update items should be emailed to Terri the 3rd week of the month. However, items can be added to the blog or facebook at any time. Also note, just like any public blog, you are free to use the comment space below each post to share additional information or opinions.


Deborah, Deanna, and Terri
CHIP Health Improvement Specialists

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October CHIP Update

Dear Community Partners and Key Stakeholders,

Moving into Fall, the CHIP scorecard has been "softly" launched and we encourage you to begin using it as a resource. Many of the work groups have received some orientation of scorecard function and the CHIP Advisory Council will receive a short orientation at our October Meeting. We're really pleased with the brief tutorial on the site created about our amazing summer intern Hannah Rackers and we encourage you to spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the scorecard navigation.

We continue to work on refining our communication processes. This month we will begin to post CHIP Advisory Council meeting agendas on our blog. Next month you will receive a link to the agenda with your meeting reminder rather than an attachment as we move toward making the blog our "go-to" resource for all things CHIP. We will also begin to include future meeting topics on our CHIP calendar. If there are upcoming events, resources, job postings etc... please contact Terri to post. Also note, just like any public blog, you are free to use the comment space below each post.

Just a reminder that last month we created blog-sites for each priority group to allow for increased internal communication and sharing. Note that these are public and you are welcome to visit them to find out more about the priority work and you'll find them listed on the right-hand menu bar. Also, these blogs will be updated on an "as needed" basis and content may change more or less frequently than the main CHIP page.  

Please take a few minutes to read our Update featured sections this month to find out what you can do to share information that supports our CHIP priorities and partners.
This month we have 2 new Engage opportunities.  The first is the City of Asheville Bond Referendum on the November Ballot with funding slated crto support critical affordable housing, transportation and recreation needs. The second is an opportunity to learn and provide input into the City's beginning Comprehensive Plan process.

In Learn you'll find information about workshops to learn how to use the Results Based Accountability framework that is central to our CHIP process, to inform your work and how to use the  Community Resiliancy Model (CRM) to address physiological reactions to stress and trauma.

Support includes information on how to support Buncombe County Partnership for Children and Pisgah Legal Services while hearing two amazing speakers, Juni Liu of the Fred Rogers Center and Marian Wright Edeleman of the Children's Defense Fund. It also provides information on how to support those you serve through a connection to short term childcare at the YWCA.

Our Resources You Can Use Page space has several new resources this month including two that can inform your work around equity issues, and resources from the Food Research Council on ending hunger and from CDC on policies to address social determinants of health.

And once again, don't forget that our Facebook Page is where we provide more timely information.

As always, please let us know how we can continue to build and improve ways to communicate and share in ways that help us be successful in our work together!


Deborah, Deanna, and Terri
CHIP Health Improvement Specialists