HEALTHY GORGE INITIATIVE
The Healthy Gorge Initiative is a collaboration of community-based organizations, healthcare providers, public health, government agencies, the Coordinated Care Organization, early childhood, schools as well as state, local, and regional funders.
WHAT WE DO
There’s something happening in the Gorge: it has to do with health, but its more than doctors and medicine. It has to do with what it really means to be healthy - as an individual and a community. What’s happening is rooted in collaboration, because, when you do it right, 1+1 can equal 3.
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’ means having enough healthy food to eat everyday; it means living in safe, stable, affordable housing; it means access to transportation; it means jobs that pay a living wage. Health also includes mental health, physical health, oral health, and, most importantly, a sense of community.
The partners and collaborations focus on immediate needs and upstream conditions; individual health and community health; organizational change and systems change. In short, we work to serve people standing in line, while simultaneously trying to shorten tomorrow's line.
As a community, we have had some success; together, we’ve designed and launched 60+ new initiatives (all multi-partnered), created 55+ FTE jobs in the community, trained 100+ Community Health Workers (CHWs), and secured more than $18 million in grants to support these efforts...so far!
The Healthy Gorge Initiative began on the premise that collectively, what we had done over the past decades was not
enough… we were not getting much healthier. Every year we were facing the same issues. If we expected a different result, we knew we would need to do something different. So we did.
We just started doing it differently. The first step was to change the paradigm around how community issues are identified and then, how those issues are addressed.
Paradigm change #1: Authentic Community Engagement
We shifted from asking the question 'HOW do we prioritize issues' to 'WHO prioritizes issues?'
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 what they need. We ask, we listen, and then we respond. In practical terms, this enables us to understand what people who live and work in this community actually need and want to be healthy. We call this authentic community engagement.
Paradigm change #2: Collaboration
With a better understanding of the issues we needed to address, we began to identify existing resources, align those resources to maximize their effectiveness, and then leverage all of that to create programs and secure funds to fill the gaps. In short, we design community-identified solutions that address community-identified needs.
WHO WE ARE
The Healthy Gorge Initiative includes social service providers, residents with lived experience, health care providers, schools, local businesses, academic partners, and philanthropies that live and work in the communities of the Gorge.
Our team is a collaboration. There is no central agency directing the work of partners: 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.
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.
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.
GET IN TOUCH
Hood River, OR
GET IN TOUCH
Hood River, OR