Locals Committed to Keeping Islanders Healthy
In the SJ Update mailbag we have this letter to the community from Julia Vouri…
That San Juan County was recently declared the “healthiest county” in Washington State should come as no surprise to those who have benefited from the excellent health and social services here. And these services are continually improving thanks to a group of local organizations and individuals who meet regularly to tackle health concerns across San Juan County.
This group, the San Juan County Community Health Initiatives Consortium (CHIC), was formed in 2015 to address countywide health needs identified by Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs). Conducted by PeaceHealth in 2014 and 2016, this process involved gathering input from many community organizations and individuals across the County. Three areas of need were identified, and CHIC was tasked with pursuing goals through individual workgroups co-convened by PeaceHealth and San Juan County Health & Community Services.
Vulnerable Populations workgroup
The goals of this group are to strengthen support for the marginal and frail, simplify social service and health delivery systems and establish more communication between island organizations. Progress to date includes countywide coordination of services for people who have multiple needs, additional caregiver training, support for caregivers and patients across the County and creation of the Family Resource Center’s Island Neighbors program on San Juan Island, which offers help ranging from running errands and light yardwork to social outings for frail or homebound community members.
Community Resource Guide workgroup
The recently launched online San Juan County Community Resource Guide was developed to connect people seeking assistance with local resources in the community. Services vary, and include health care, food, transportation, rent, utilities, interpretation and translation services, education, financial aid, clothing, rental assistance and more. To sign up or to use the guide, go to sjiscommunityresource.org.
The goal of this workgroup is to increase pediatric immunizations rates countywide. Efforts include working with providers, schools and the community on identifying strategies and policies to improve vaccination rates and achieve community immunity. This group has also partnered with Peace Island Medical Center to hold immunization clinics.
Collaboration and cooperation are key to the success of these workgroups. Each meeting is robust, productive and well-attended, and all are invited to participate. If interested in being a part of this important work, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the County’s health ranking, visit countyhealthrankings.org and enter “San Juan County.”