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Community health plans help net grants for projects here
[December 18, 2012]

Community health plans help net grants for projects here

Dec 18, 2012 (The Jamestown Sun - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Even before the community health improvement plan was turned in last week, it helped the region earn $50,000 in grants.

Central Valley Health District has been leading a multi-agency effort to create a community health assessment (CHA) and a community health improvement plan (CHIP) for almost a year, and the process is finally complete.

And the project has already begun to yield results.

"This wasn't going to be something that was developed on paper and put on a shelf," said Tami Dillman, CVHD finance manager, one of the project leaders. "It truly is allowing us to live up to the intent of the project and allowing us to show the community the plan at work." A CHA is a collection of data and statistics that help give a picture of the status of a community's health. A CHIP utilizes that data to help a community decide what areas of health to focus on, what tactics to take and how to measure results.

The CHA/CHIP project was partly funded with a $35,000 grant given to 112 sites nationwide by the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

Information from the CHA and CHIP was utilized in proposals for two local grants from the University of North Dakota Rural Health Partnership, for $25,000 each.

One went to Logan County, for improvements at the community center to help make physical activities more accessible and available, and will also be used to put a disc golf course into a park.

The other grant will go to Jamestown Regional Medical Center and James River Family YMCA, which applied for the grant together.

The YMCA's portion of the grant money will be put toward Fitness on Demand, which allows any type of fitness class to be brought to a location without the need of an instructor.

"The old Nautilus area (at the YMCA), that will be converted into a studio (for Fitness on Demand). The projector screen is in the ceiling. That will come down when the kiosk is engaged," said Cory Anderson, executive director of the YMCA, explaining how Fitness on Demand will work. The projector will show whatever fitness class a person chooses to take.

Anderson hopes to have all elements in place by Jan. 1.

The YMCA will also receive funding for transportation for seniors, so that they have access to fitness opportunities, and scholarships for 10 youth and 19 adults -- meaning that the grant will benefit people of every age level.

"Our mission is looking at strengthening the community as a whole," Anderson said, adding he doesn't want someone to be unhealthy because he or she can't afford to be healthy.

"We want to make sure we've hit all these demographics in our communities," said Samantha Revering, marketing specialist with JRMC.

Part of the remaining grant funds will go toward updating the annual New Year, New You program, a wellness challenge offered by the JRMC and supported by many community partners.

In the six-week challenge, participants earn points for healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating the right amount of vegetables and doing physical activities, said Emily Kjelland, wellness manager at JRMC.

Updates to this year's New Year, New You will include information produced and highlighted by the CHA and CHIP, such as the addition of mental health information and the allocation of points for safe driving practices.

"We are building these things into existing activities," Dillman said.

Some of the grant money will go toward marketing, encouraging more people to join the New Year, New You Challenge. Last year 500 people participated, and this year's goal is to get 615 people involved, Dillman said.

The grant will also allow JRMC staff to work on the project more after the challenge ends, analyzing the data to find out what elements of the program are most helpful or least-utilized.

The grant proposal was written in November, and utilized the CHIP to form a statement of needs for the grant request.

Obesity and lack of physical activity was identified by the community and local health officials as an area to focus on, with local data backing it up, during the CHA/CHIP process.

"This is a great example of how we've put the plan to work and are making these improvements," Dillman said.

The CHA and CHIP will continue to be used in the future as well, and because they are comprehensive, covering a wide range of health-related topics, they have many uses.

Feedback about the documents at the national level has been positive, Dillman said, and the 50-page CHA and the 30-page CHIP have been praised for their content and their appearances.

A Health and Safety Partnership group has already been formed to continue working on the community goals set during the CHA/CHIP process, and keep refining the plan, Dillman said.

"Without the feedback of the community, we couldn't have had as good of an assessment as we ended up with," Dillman said, thanking people for their responses to surveys online and over the phone.

She also thanked the partners involved in the venture.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at More from around the web ___ (c)2012 The Jamestown Sun (Jamestown, N.D.) Visit The Jamestown Sun (Jamestown, N.D.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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