road map update

We’ve known our destination for a while – The Mahoning Valley is a place where all residents have the opportunity to live long, healthy, and fulfilling lives. We’ve also determined that we will start this journey by first focusing on creating more equitable opportunities for residents to eat healthier and be more active, as well as encourage and support residents to make those choices. This focus was selected following our exploration of both data and community input, connecting how physical inactivity and poor nutrition have contributed to our high rates of chronic disease, and learning what residents feel are their greatest obstacles to living longer, more fulfilling lives.

Below are answers to several other questions relevant to the “road trip” we are on:

Our community is diverse and the issues we are dealing with are complex. There is no single route to our destination. Nor does it make sense for us all to pile into the same vehicle. But we all are headed to the same place.

The vehicles include:

  • The Partnership Director: The Partnership Director is out in front developing a better understanding of the road ahead; she spends a lot of time going back to help the other vehicles stay on track.
  • Steering Committee: The Steering Committee is maintaining a steady pace, making sure the procedures and practices are in place to sustain everyone on the journey.
  • Action Teams: The Action Teams are pushing forward, and ready to accelerate.
  • Funder Committee: The Funders Committee is appropriately hanging back making sure the other vehicles aren’t heading in the ditch, but the time is right for them to move forward and catch up.
  • The starting line – we’re on the road.
  • The first loading zone – we’ve engaged over 60 community members in the steering committee or action teams thus far.
  • We’re approaching a fueling station – we’re going to need fuel to take specific actions along our journey.
  • Action Zones – Similar to a construction zone, but these are more fun. This is where the participants in our journey will take actions together that will smooth the road ahead to our destination. Early actions will be modest – think, filling a small pothole. Later on, we hope to take bolder actions – think, paving a road.

To make sure we are going in the right direction, our work is following 4 guiding principles:

  • Co-creation
  • Community Engagement
  • Health in all policies
  • Influence and Inspire

Below are the milestones reached in each area:

  • Co-creation
    • We are participating in a joint Community Health Assessment with Mercy Health and all 4 local health departments. This is the first time our community has completed a collaborative assessment.
    • Action Teams are working together to take collective action, and have defined preliminary goals and objectives.
    • We have engaged many diverse sectors that often do not work together.
    • We are being included in many community discussions, such as the Mayor’s Food Policy Council.
  • Community Engagement
    • We have diversified and strengthened our steering committee and action teams.
    • We are working to eliminate barriers to participation and better recognize the value of participation by providing stipends for volunteer steering committee members.
  • Health in all Policies
    • We have developed a policy sub-committee that will focus on where advocacy is needed in alignment with action teams’ goals and objectives.
  • Influence and Inspire
    • We used the Innovations Conference to educate and inspire community members to get involved with HCP.
  • We need to be able to communicate better with everyone who is on the journey, as well as others who are interested in our trip. We are in the process of retaining a communications firm to help increase our communication capacity.
  • The Action Teams need to decide on an initial set of actions that they are willing to commit to.
  • The Steering Committee will need to consider whether to seek funding to support each proposed action.
  • The Funders Committee will need to consider whether to advocate to their respective foundations that the actions recommended by the Steering Committee be funded.
  • The Foundations need to decide whether to fund the recommended actions.
  • The Partnership Director will need to work with the partners to identify other potential sources of funding.
  • The Steering Committee needs to formalize practices and procedures to sustain the collaboration and select co-chairs.