Writer / Janet Striebel
Key hands behind healthy365 have already partnered with community leaders to organize the annual Hancock Flat 50 Bicycle Ride and earn the Active Living Workshop grant awarded by the Indiana State Department of Health and Health by Design initiative.
Hancock and Delaware were the only two counties in Indiana to be recognized as “Indiana Healthy Communities” by the Wellness Council of Indiana (www.wellnessindiana.org).
The award ceremony took place at the 2016 Indiana Health and Wellness Summit September 21 and 22 in downtown Indianapolis.
“The healthy365 community movement has good momentum in Hancock County,” says Danielle Daugherty, Healthy Community Coordinator at Hancock Regional Health. “With a strong foundation, its focus is on health instead of healthcare and wellness instead of illness.”
Its top four health concerns are mental health, obesity/nutrition, prescription/illegal drug abuse and tobacco and nicotine use. The three main branches for addressing team goals and strategies include Healthier Choices, Mental Fitness and Workplace Wellness, all of which are driven by dedicated volunteers.
“With our efforts we’re trying to connect resources together so we don’t operate in silos,” says Kathy Locke, team leader for Healthier Choices. “We’re trying to unite health initiatives by organizing festivals, 5Ks and other forms of health awareness.”
In August 2015, Steve Long, CEO of Hancock Health, conducted the first healthy365 meeting where questions were raised about the mysterious longevity and vitality of people living within the five Blue Zones ™ (www.bluezones.com). In these areas, people are healthier and living longer than anywhere else in the world, without chronic illnesses. But how and why?
“In response to this meeting we knew we would have to increase non-smoking rates, access to nutritious food, mental fitness services such as support groups and access to active living such as walking, running, and biking,” says Daugherty, whom Hancock Health hired in January 2016. The movement healthy365 is designed to drive policy, systems, and environmental change to accomplish these tasks.
Her mission is to focus on community wellness by promoting healthy food and exercise choices, improving access to healthcare and supporting workplace wellness programs, while connecting people to the vast nonprofit network, healthy365.
Daugherty acts as a liaison between Hancock Health and the generous volunteers of this initiative.
• Grocery stores —to substitute healthier choices in checkout lanes (i.e. fruits and water instead of candy and soft drinks)
• Restaurants — to offer sub-menus featuring healthier options
• Schools — to implement the 5-2-1-0 guidelines within the school environment (www.healthynh.com/5-2-1-0-healthy-nh.html) and public/shared use guidelines for recreational facilities, (i.e. fieldhouse usage, public swimming opportunities, etc.)
• Churches — to appoint a contact person who can provide two-way communication between the hospital and members of the congregation
“Some people who have just had an operation and have come home from the hospital may not be able to pay their bill, or maybe they live by themselves and need help with meals,” says Locke. “It’s all about staying in the loop and maintaining two-way communication to offer support.”
Locke invites the community to share ideas and successes about healthier living in the workplace and/or family.
“If you have an idea, then we want to know about it. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts about healthy living.”
Since 1951, Hancock Regional Hospital has been a vital community hub in the Hancock County community, providing medical care, employment for close to 900 healthcare professionals, and a history of philanthropy.
“In addition to subsidizing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, we write off millions of dollars each year for charity care,” says Daugherty. “With healthy365 in motion, we can measure engagement, but we can’t necessarily measure influence at this time. We can, however, approximate impact. Though we have 45 volunteers that we see face to face at monthly meetings, we have over 600 ambassadors who we communicate with digitally and in the workplace. There are over 5,000 employees within our circles of influence. With the ripple effect, we’re confident that we’ll continue to grow and move forward.”