Following the SHIP – the Vermont State Health Improvement Plan:
Over the last 18 months the Accountable Communities for Health have been in an ongoing dynamic and interesting place for our Council’s representation. The Lamoille ACH – called the Unified Care Collaborative, has allowed for important and sometimes difficult conversation around the true challenges in the Lamoille Valley – but have without fail resulted in positive collaboration between a very broad group of partners. The issues addressed mirror the findings of this year’s Vermont Department of Health’s SHIP. Namely, if we want to support Vermonters, we need to address upstream issues founded in the social determinants of health – housing, social-emotional connection, food security, transportation, and poverty. These are the issues that result in higher or lower health costs, and better or worse health outcomes for families over time. The true challenge for our Council comes from the inevitable political nature of the solutions to these foundational issues. We speak about this all the time.
Integration and cooperation is a hallmark of effective supports for families – in the Lamoille Valley, this has been our focus for more than three decades. The Lamoille Valley BBF Council is pretty happy to be walking that walk this season as best we can.
Four times a year, the Maternal Child Health Nurse in the Lamoille Region, Wendy Hubbard, convenes the Maternal Child Health Coalition and the Breastfeeding Coalition. These meetings include an empaneled session before their more open segment, where folks can brainstorm to provide solutions to specific problems. Over the last several years it has become clear that the information and networking shared at these meetings would be useful and helpful to the members of the Council as well, some of whom attend both groups. Wendy and I worked together to bring the Maternal Child Health Coalition and the BBF Council together into a single gathering. Our first mega-meeting takes place on September 10th at the Lamoille Family Center – we’ll share how it goes! What’s most exciting for me is that we are able to expand BBF’s traditional focus on child care and education by bringing the Maternal Child Health team to the table. I know this is exciting – so let me know if you’d like to attend! Chocolate is often part of the conversation.