WHAT WE DO
There’s something going on in the Gorge – something that’s not being done anywhere else. It has to do with health, but not just doctors and medicine. It has to do with what it really means to be healthy - as an individual and a community. What’s going on in the Gorge is a collaborative revolution. Because, at the end of the day, 1+1 can equal 3, when you do it right.
Our Vision is to make individuals and the overall community healthier…nothing more…nothing less. Better health, in every sense of the word. For us, ‘health’ includes food security, affordable housing, transportation, jobs, as well as physical health, mental health, dental health, built environment, and a sense of community.
We focus on short-term outcomes and process, immediate needs and upstream conditions, individual health and community health, organizational change and systems change. In short, we are working collaboratively across sectors, geographies, and issues.
As a community, we have had some success; together, we’ve designed and launched 40+ new initiatives (all multi-partnered), created 30+ FTE jobs in the community, trained 100 Community Health Workers (CHWs), and secured more than $10 million in grants to support these efforts...so far!
The Healthy Gorge Initiative is working under the premise that collectively, what we have done over the past decades is not
enough… we are not getting much healthier. We are also working under the premise that in order to truly address needs in the community, we need to change the paradigm around how these needs are identified and addressed. All of work is built on two basic tenets:
The Healthy Gorge Initiative is a loose collaboration of community-based organizations (CBOs), healthcare providers, government agencies, public health, the region's Coordinated Care Organization (CCO), early childhood, and K-12 education as well as state and regional funders.
Authentic Community Engagement
We believe that every person is an expert in their own lived experience. We also believe that the best way to create health is to ask people most impacted why they need. We ask, we listen, and then we respond. In practical terms, this enables us to design community identified solutions that address community identified needs.
Our team is enormous. The Healthy Gorge Initiative includes many amazing agencies, social service providers, citizen advocates, health care providers, local businesses, academic partners, and philanthropies that are making a healthy community something we can all be part of.
Our team is a collaboration. We have no central agency leading, managing, and/or directing the work of the agencies. Participation is based entirely on a desire to work together to create a healthier community. The number of individuals solely dedicated to supporting this collaborative effort is small, fully remote, and fully committed to making these efforts a success.
The Learning Specialist is working to increase community capacity by understanding how information is being collected by partners in the Gorge who are working to create healthier individuals and a healthier community. To do this, the work has been broken up into two phases.
July 2018 – March 2019
Meet with participating partners to understand
their projects, who they are and what they do
Understand how partners are collecting information
for and about their projects
Build a matrix that highlights information collection practices
Assemble a description and analysis learned information collection practices
March 2019 - July 2020
Research examples of data sharing initiatives both locally, regionally and nationally
Develop a plan to create best practices as it relates to data collection
Support new and existing efforts around data collection and evaluation planning
Offer quarterly trainings in partnership with Chelsea Ruder for the Gorge community on topics related to data, evaluation, research and capacity building
In 2016, the Columbia Gorge was one of seven communities selected across the country to receive the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Prize. (We were selected from a pool of more than 220 applicants). The Prize honors and elevates communities making great strides in their journey toward better health.
Healthy Gorge Initiative Blog
Check-in for semi-regular updates, ides, and musings about creating a healthy community.
Learning Specialist Updates
Check-in for monthly updates to learn about new findings, important information, and resources that pertain to our community.
These partners have funded the various projects we have undertaken in our Gorge community through our Collective Impact efforts. For more information on each partner, click on the logo/link below. For more information on which funding partners supported which projects, visit our Community Identified Solutions page for the specific details/funders of each project.
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Hood River, OR