The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
The Times 

Community Health Conversations


DAYTON – The last of four Community Health Conversations took place in Dayton last week and drew a crowd of about 17 interested citizens from around the community.

Catherine Veninga, from the Community Council in Walla Walla, led the discussion, saying, “Today is all about the data.”

Veninga presented data for established goals in demographics, education, economy, natural environment, and safety.

Columbia County Public Health Director Martha Lanman presented the goals in the category for health and wellness.

The goals are:

The ability to access a full range of health choices, regional healthy lifestyles, food, regional trail networks, and recreational facilities.

Quality health care should be affordable and accessible to all in the region.

Healthy food and nutrition and education available for all.

Increase access to quality mental health services and drug and alcohol treatment services.

Promote and support healthy lifestyles throughout the region.

Enhance quality health care and services for seniors, recognizing our region.

Lanman said the findings from the Community Health Conversations will be integrated into the local community health assessment, which will be performed by the Walla Walla County Dept. of Community Health. The assessment will be completed by late summer.

“[The Department of] Public Health will be organizing the community health improvement plan meetings and working with Walla Walla County Dept. of Community Health to develop the Plan,” she said.

Mary Campbell, executive director of the Community Council of Walla Walla, said talks began when the Community Council and Walla Walla County Dept. of Community Health heard that Walla Walla and Columbia Counties were going to hold the same type of conversation they had envisioned.

“Once we found the way to make sure that we could meet their needs, and ours, we began holding indicator sub-committee meetings,” she said.

The subcommittees met in April to begin identifying the indicators for each priority group, said Campbell.

Campbell said the Community Council and the Walla Walla Department of Community Health has partnered with Blue Mountain Community Foundation, the Sherwood Trust, and the United Way of Walla Walla in these discussions.


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