The initial problem that brought this project to fruition was a lot of the health indicators that are more highly prevalent in rural areas. That ranges from smoking behavior to obesity to other chronic diseases. Local communities in the more rural parts of our state not often the capacity among the local organizations to do what they need to do to improve healthy lifestyles, and importantly, to deliver evidence-based programming and strategies that can help the residents that live in those areas. This project is going to be fantastic for the community because it blends and really brings together public health, our local hospital and academia. It’s always exciting when you have local entities come together and say, “We are going to work together across business sectors, and across organizations, and we’re going to improve the life of our own community and the residents who live here.” If this research project is successful, then we will have a coalition that is able to function efficiently and effectively on their own, and it’s sustainable for years to come. The bigger is that we have real impact on, not just health outcomes, but social outcomes. And so the nice things about this funding from Rural Futures is that it allows this group some time and space to engage with experts around coalition building that can really give them that next level of becoming a coalition that can go the distance.
I know the problems for Platte County are not that different from what you see in rural counties across Nebraska, and this is one example of how local people can be that change that they want to see. And they can do this work. And sometimes they need some help in terms of capacity. This should serve as a model and an example of how things can work and how they should work locally. These are the people who have full-time jobs, and many hats that they’re already wearing, yet they are making time for more commitment to increasing the quality of life for the people in their communities, and to help build their capacity in the strategic planning process is so rewarding. That’s the type of empowerment that pays itself forward for years to come..
As found on Youtube