2016 could be a Year of Wellness


Clatsop County Commissioners will be given a chance to proclaim 2016 a Year of Wellness at its Dec. 9 meeting.


Clatsop County Health Promotion Specialist Steven Blakesley and Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) Board member Debbie Morrow will present a proclamation to the commissioners. Both are on the Way to Wellville Advisory Council.


Spurred by Way to Wellville’s initiative to get Clatsop County healthier over a five-year period, the Tillamook County Commission declared 2016 to be a Year of Wellness (YOW) in July.


“It makes sense for Clatsop County to have a Year of Wellness and have a focused time to leverage resources in the same CCO,” Blakesley said. Clatsop, Tillamook and Columbia counties are all part of the Columbia Pacific CCO.


The proclamation to be presented defines wellness as physical, social and mental well-being and not just the absence of disease or infirmity.


“The more we met and talked with agencies and community members the more we realized that people are taking ownership of their health and wellness,” said Morrow.


“This proclamation isn’t just about the work of the CCO or Way to Wellville. This is about acknowledging all of the efforts organically occurring throughout our community to achieve a healthier lifestyle,” she said.



The proclamation states:


• “Our community health needs assessments indicate that improving health and wellness is a high priority for Clatsop County citizens, especially for our children.


• “Many leaders and community collaboratives like Way to Wellville, CHART, Connect the Dots, Prevention Works, etc., are committed to building a healthier Clatsop County.


• “The Year of Wellness encourages all individuals, families, schools, community and faith groups, services, businesses and governments to celebrate 2016 by learning more about what they can do to improve health and well-being and then making those changes for better health.”


It further states health and health equity should be considered in all policies.


“It means asking ‘How does health play into this?” Blakesley said. For instance, the Year of Wellness could include widening roads for a safer transportation plan, he said. There could be non-motorized trails from low-income housing to shopping areas. Businesses could make their properties tobacco-free.


“It is important to integrate health and knowledge around it into our policies,” Blakesley said.


“Our goal with the proclamation is to create a singular focus in Clatsop County for everyone – from schools to lumber mills, from fishermen to those who run marathons. We want everyone to engage in a healthier lifestyle – to make the shift, however small, to take care of yourself,” Morrow said.



Tillamook’s YOW


“The momentum has been incredible,” said Michelle Jenck, coordinator of Tillamook County YOW. “This project is increasing collaboration between public and private health care providers.” Community leaders, stakeholders and individuals have jumped onboard. There are now 60 community partners.


“We dedicated an entire year to create a framework to offer health improvement in a logical structured manner,” Jenck said. The Tillamook County YOW is broken into monthly themes, with speaker series, health programming, events and demonstrations.


“We use the collective impact model and positive peer pressure. If people see everyone else doing it, they will want to do it,” Jenck said. “There are little things to do to improve health.


“We are taking what was happening – fun runs, a mini-triathlon and other events – and funneling them into YOW efforts,” Jenck said. The larger, widely publicized program is four 12-week competitions that people can track online or in a print version. People can track their weekly intake of vegetables, physical activity, sleep, water intake, tobacco use and a weekly challenge.


The Tillamook County YOW website is tillamookcountyhealthmatters.org


Columbia County is also considering 2016 a Year of Wellness.