Of the nearly 100 healthy communities created in Pennsylvania by the PA Department of Health, the Volunteer Hospital Association, and the Healthy Communities Institute, LCHIC leads the way in coordinating health improvement projects, affecting public policy and making significant impact on health status and quality of life of Lycoming County residents. LCHIC’s efforts to re-invent itself congruent to emerging trends and community dynamics; to improve visibility and financial sustainability; and to concertedly advance community collaboration plans toward the LCHIC vision and mission is noteworthy.
The 2010-2011 Strategic Planning Session of the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition was characterized by meaningful and candid discussion as well as a free flow of ideas and challenges. The annual January session has become less of a “strategic planning” session and more appropriately serves as a forum for “launching” future plans and activities of LCHIC. More importantly, the annual session serves to reaffirm LCHIC’s critical position in the community and its measurable progress as a respected catalyst for community collaboration.
Board wisdom and insights were captured as follows:
- Maintaining visibility of LCHIC and recognition in the community is a daunting endeavor
- The communication and awareness of LCHIC accomplishments and successes of must occur more frequently, in varied formats and requires support of regional media organizations
- The critical work of the task forces is more visible and valued by the community
- The lastest assessment results from the 2009 BRFSS Survey Report serves as an excellent opportunity to accelerate planning and communication efforts of Task Forces
- Efforts to communicate value and return on investment is essential to engaging business and being considered “a player” in economic development of Lycoming County
- LCHIC continues to advance its sustainability and has become a very financially sound organization although many challenges persist
- Retaining current funders and the pursuit new donors is vital and continuous
- The relationship of a “healthy community” to economic development remains as a critical focus to LCHIC
As evaluated by the Board of Directors, progress is evident. Those recommendations, noted earlier remain as pursuits of LCHIC in addition to following:
- Set direction and measures of accountability for Task Forces to achieve goals
- Mobilize Task Forces to use results Community Assessments to create new and refine current goals consistent with changing community needs and focus
- Conduct regular review of goals and accomplishments with task Forces to assess progress and provide board direction as required
- Accelerate efforts to communicate value and return on investment through LCHIC Board and community organizations serving on Task Forces
- Put an Evaluation Process in place, starting with the key projects of each Task Force, working with an Ad Hoc Evaluation Committee of the Executive Committee Team.
Based on LCHIC’s evolution, the recommendations place a greater focus and expectation on the work of the Task Forces and projects found there. The LCHIC Board is positioned to set direction, pass the baton and establish systems that enable Task Forces to be accountable for a measurable impact on the health of Lycoming County. As summarized by a member of the Board, the leadership of LCHIC must embrace as its mantra, “We Will” which acrostically spells out: Wellness, Innovation, Learning and Leadership.
Among leaders of health improvement initiatives, it is frequently stated that the knowledge we gain is more accurate, meaningful and useful as we integrate our understandings to those “living and working in the fields.” With that understanding, we are armored with knowledge to create positive social change and the will to dramatically “inspire better lives”.