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Bartholomew County on the 'Road to Wellville'

Bartholomew County has been selected as a one of 10 finalists in a competition, called "Way to Wellville," which is aimed at finding the community whose residents can best improve their health.

Kelsey DeClue, a public relations specialist for Columbus Regional Health, says this pursuit to is being championed by the Healthy Communities Initiative and the Columbus Regional Health Foundation. She notes that Bartholomew County has cleared the next hurdle on the "Way to Wellville." DeClue says the purpose is to find five communities to compete over five years for the greatest improvement in five measures of health.

The Way to Wellville initiative is sponsored by HICCup (Health Initiative Coordinating Council), a non-profit venture focused on enabling community health transformation and backed by venture capitalist and philanthropist and technology icon Esther Dyson.

"With our Bartholomew County partners, we will have three focus ares. We will aim to accelerate the impact of the Healthy Communities Initiative by creating a Healthy Communities Connection Center, introducing the Nurse-Family Partnership program in Bartholomew County, and working to improve student chronic disease care coordination between school nurse offices and pediatricians.  Second, we will aim to accelerate the health impact of Community Education Coalition initiatives and United Way's Bartholomew County Works program. And finally, we will work with our major employers to encourage adoption of a proven healthy lifestyle program to really drive improvements in health outcomes among local employees," said Healthy Communities director Beth Morris.

DeClue says that HICCup Advisory Board members Esther Dyson, Rick Brush and other advisory board members, will visit Columbus in early August to meet with leaders of the Healthy Communities multi-stakeholder coalition for a half-day site-visit. After the site visits are complete, the five final Way to Wellville communities will be announced by August 15 to compete in the five-year contest.  "We are being really ambitious in our goals, but our community is ready for this," said Morris. "Our challenge during the site visit will be to demonstrate our readiness for such an ambitious undertaking."

DeClue notes that the five communities that are selected will receive support from HICCup and a national network of partners and resources in the areas of consumer and community based health solutions, health data measurement, and innovative health financing strategies. She adds that the community that shows the most measurable improvement will receive $5 million.

"The idea behind the Way to Wellville is not just to make a measurable difference in five places, but to design and deliver a comprehensive approach to health that can be replicated broadly," said Rick Brush, CEO of HICCup. "Together with our Wellville partners, five communities will point the way to better health and financial sustainability."

Bartholomew County was the only Indiana location selected as a finalist.
Last Updated: Monday, July 07, 2014 6:42:22 PM

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