Way to Wellville’s first year in review


Year in Review 2015Way to Wellville recently completed the first year of the five-year initiative to get Clatsop County and four other selected communities around the nation healthier.


“We are in a good place after the first year,” says Nicole Williams, vice chair of the Way to Wellville Strategic Council. The main focus for Clatsop County is early childhood education, she points out, and there is a plan in place to execute it.


“I think the biggest accomplishment in 2015 for all Wellville Five communities, and in Clatsop County particularly, is forming a cohesive leadership team,” says Rick Brush, CEO of HICCup (Health Initiative Coordinating Council), the organization that launched Way to Wellville. Brush and Marya Stark, chief investment officer, visited Clatsop County this week to meet with the Way to Wellville Strategic Council.


“The Council has a broad representation, with ongoing rhythm setting priorities and is making progress,” Brush says. “It is a leadership group that represents the community.”


“We have the same voice in the community,” adds Williams.


“I’m most excited about the fact that our Strategic Council represents all different interests. We have come together to recognize that pre-kindergarten education is a great area of focus. We have come to recognize that this priority is part of all our initiatives.


“Our partnership with HICCup has expanded our knowledge of resources outside our community and state.”


Launching initiatives


Clatsop County Way to Wellville is rolling out Rx: 4 Play, a program in which doctors will prescribe physical activity to their patients who are obese, diabetic or simply could benefit from more activity. The prescription will come with a voucher for free parking at national and state parks and another voucher for Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District or Astoria Parks and Recreation. The program was funded by a $10,000 grant from Providence Health & Services.


“We want people to take advantage of the wonderful natural areas and facilities we have here in Clatsop County,” says Sydney Van Dusen, coordinator for Clatsop County’s Way to Wellville.


Another $10,000 grant from Providence is being used to purchase Pocket Full of Feelings education kits, that teach children how to recognize and name their feelings, which helps change their behavior. The kits will be tried in a pilot project at a preschool or Head Start program.


Nicole WilliamsLooking forward


“In 2016, the challenge will be to form clear goals and metrics, establish baselines for initiatives, then identify specific outcomes Way to Wellville hopes to reach by the end of the challenge in 2019,” Brush says.


Scaling up initiatives is important in attracting more resources and funders. Launching demonstration projects that engage the community can be used for a larger level of impact. “Changes should be visible,” Brush says. “Residents should experience a difference, a more connected community.”


HICCup now has five employees who will act as “navigators” for each of the Wellville Five communities. Marya Stark is the navigator for Clatsop County. She says her expertise is in structuring financial deals, organizing communities, and “connecting the dots and making connections so initiatives are investment ready.”


Stark adds that “It is important to align emotions with analytic ability.” Her advice to Clatsop County is to “think bigger and have more ambitious goals to attract large investment.”


“We all see the big picture,” Williams says of the Strategic Council members. “Even if education is not what we represent, we can see that investing in early childhood education has a positive impact on the areas we do represent. Down the line, it will affect jobs, graduation rates and the economy.


“I have always seen that the best things are achieved through collaboration, and that’s what Way to Wellville is all about. We can leverage partnerships for a healthier community with help from outside sources.”


Way to Wellville Clatsop County Strategic Council

Pam Ackley, Windermere Real Estate broker and Warrenton City Commission

Steven Blakesley, Clatsop County Public Health promotion specialist

Stacey Brown, Seaside Police Department communications manager

Dan Gaffney, Clatsop P3 coordinator and Clatsop Early Childhood Clinic director

Jeff Hazen, Sunset Empire Transportation executive director

Chris Holen, Baked Alaska chef/owner

Nancy Knopf, Columbia Pacific CCO community health partnership manager

Paulette McCoy, Providence Seaside Hospital public affairs manager

Debbie Morrow, Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization and Warrenton School Board

Greg Peterson, Clatsop Community Bank vice president

Jill Quackenbush, Clatsop County Juvenile Department prevention coordinator

Jeanette Schacher, Lower Columbia Hospice & Columbia Memorial Hospital home health manager

Kristin Tschannen, Seaside Yoga owner

Nicole Williams, Clatsop Care Health District chief executive officer