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Grassroots Engagement

Michele Wilson, December 13, 2011
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Bellin Health Care Systems in Green Bay, WI, and the Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute at Baylor Health Care System in Dallas, developed ways to engage their populations:

  • A farm stand. DHWI, which has treated thousands of patients in the year since it opened, offers fresh fruits and veggies to tempt its clientele to eat healthier foods. According to its president, Donna Rice, MBA, RN, CDE, FAADE, the farm stand now takes food stamps—important in a place like South Dallas, where the average annually salary doesn’t break $10,000.
  • A community 10K. The aptly named Bellin Run had 18,701 participants in 2011. It’s the fourth-largest race of its kind in the country, says Pete Knox, executive vice president and chief learning and innovation officer there. “We think ultimately it’s going to require community grassroots efforts to get people engaged.”
  • A partnership with 20 elementary schools. The idea of this Bellin program, called Thrive, is to promote a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle and to make exercise fun. “We’re trying to impact the health of children and their families,” Knox says.
  • Ministerial help. A year and a half before DWHI opened, Rice approached 127 churches in the Dallas area to ask religious leaders to recommend someone from their church to be a Baylor ambassador. Today, a 15-person ministerial advisory board works with the Institute and what it has dubbed “community workers,” 40 trained individuals who go to churches and set up diabetes interventions.

—Michele Wilson
 

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