What is Heal Reno County?
Heal Reno County is a coalition that seeks to make our community a healthy place to live, work, learn, and play by creating opportunities for healthy choices and building a culture that embraces healthy eating and active living. Community members serve on six work groups focused on health care, worksite wellness, tobacco-free living, community vitality, healthy kids, and healthy foods, all working to advance Reno County's Community Health Improvement Plan and initiatives including the Chronic Disease Risk & Reduction and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas Pathways to a Healthy County grants.
Heal Reno County operates with the belief that: Together, we can move Reno County down the pathway toward a place where we can all…Live Happy. Live Healthy.
History of Heal Reno County:
Two local health coalitions, one established by the Hutchinson Community Foundation out of a Kansas Health Foundation grant and another established by Chronic Disease Risk & Reduction Grant funds, merged in 2012 to create HEAL Reno County. Both coalitions had worked to discern local needs and community readiness for instituting additional healthy practices and, when HEAL Reno County was formed, they used the CHANGE tool to establish five sectors of work centered on policy, systems, and environment change in schools, worksites, healthcare, City of Hutchinson, and Reno County at large. A leadership team met monthly to review sector work and progress toward goals, informed by the 2013 Community Health Improvement Plan.
HEAL Reno County served as a communicator and connector among local groups interested in nutrition and physical activity. Its mission was to strengthen the Reno County culture for active living. The group's vision was that Reno County would be known as a place where people live long, active, and healthy lives.
In late 2014, due to frequent turnover in team members, the HEAL leadership team went through a facilitated process to focus its mission, structure, and goals in an effort to ensure sustainability and consistency. The team established the following common agenda: By creating opportunities for healthy choices and building a culture that embraces healthy eating and active living, Reno will become the healthiest county in Kansas.
HEAL’s strengths lie in our organizations' history of collaboration and willingness to work together toward shared goals, largely without the need for individual recognition. However, the turnover within those organizations and, thus, on the leadership team, led to the ongoing struggle to find a sustainable structure that will withstand transitions in members and fluctuating funding sources, as well as facilitate true community engagement and collective impact.
In August 2016, HEAL was awarded a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant to continue the success our partners have had in recent years and provide the resources and incentives to tackle the areas where we’ve made the least progress. This grant award served as a catalyst for the HEAL leadership team to engage in further research and reflection to reach a new level of work in Fall 2016. The leadership team used LiveWell Lawrence as a model for a true community coalition, established the Reno County Health Department as the coordinating agency, and transitioned into Heal Reno County with an Advisory Council and six work groups to make progress on the Community Health Improvement Plan and Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant.
In the past, Heal was capitalized and stood literally for Healthy Eating Active Living. But Heal is more than that. Heal is helping Reno County become sound and healthy. It’s about living our best lives at home, at school, at work, at church. It’s creating policies, systems, and environments that make the healthy choice the easy choice. It’s about addressing the factors that lead people to poor health or poor health choices. Because, as Kansas City Mayor Mark Holland said at our celebratory event in November 2016, “healing is a human value,” and we want Heal Reno County to represent the numerous ways we can achieve true health.