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.

Sincerely,

Deanna, Lourdes and Terri
CHIP Health Improvement Specialists

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