Local groups partner, identify three area health priorities

09/27/2011

GREEN BAY – Brown County and De Pere health departments, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, health care networks, and the Brown County United Way, formed a Steering Committee to work with community partners to identify three health concerns for improvement in Brown County and De Pere. 

The identified priorities selected were adequate, appropriate, and safe food and nutrition; oral health; and unhealthy alcohol and drug use.  The priorities were chosen after six months of data review and discussion among community partners including health care, education, law enforcement, human services and other community organizations.

Action teams of community members are being formed and led by area health care networks to plan improvements over the next 5-6 years. The not-for-profit health care networks have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the project through their leadership on the action teams.  Bellin Health is organizing separate community teams to work on the nutrition and alcohol/substance issues. The Hospital Sisters Health Systems organization for St. Vincent / St. Mary’s is convening the team to address oral health concerns.

“Bellin has a long history of working collaboratively with other organizations to bring about positive change in the community. This initiative is an opportunity to improve the overall health of the population,” said George Kerwin, Bellin president and CEO. “We look forward to doing our part and applaud the efforts of our community partners.  Together, we will have a greater impact on these critical needs.”

“St. Mary’s and St. Vincent Hospitals were excited to support this important effort to identify the health needs of our community,” commented Heidi Selberg, Vice President, Strategy and Advocacy for Hospital Sisters Health System-Eastern Wisconsin (which includes St. Mary’s, St. Vincent and St. Nicholas in Sheboygan).  “We are committed to working collaboratively with the health departments and many other community agencies and organizations to improve the health of our community and to address these high-priority matters.” 

The collaboration between public health and not-for-profit healthcare networks meets state and federal requirements respectively.  At the same time, United Way has been working on a LIFE study that identifies a broader array of community needs, including health; this study will be released in a few weeks.

“This is one of several projects, like our upcoming LIFE study, that United Way is excited to be partnering on.  This sort of intensive, community-wide research gives us a much clearer image of our area’s strengths and weaknesses, and allows us to tackle issue areas more effectively,” said Stephanie Foley from Brown County United Way.