NACo, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI), is conducting community dialogues in six counties across the country. The NACo Community Dialogue to Improve County Health sessions are intended to assist counties in assessing, planning and strategizing current efforts toward coordinating initiatives to improve the overall health of residents in these counties. These sessions are a part of NACo's Elected County Officials' Guide to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps project, which aims to bring together public and private partners to share innovative ideas and strategize about how to resolve various challenges counties face. The fifth session of the series was held in Wayne County, N.C., on October 2.
Wayne County, N.C., is located one hour southeast of the state capitol, Raleigh, and has a population of about 125,000. Leaders in the county decided to focus their Community Dialogue on using the collective impact model and the World Caf process to help move their Healthy Wayne Task Force from vision to action. The Healthy Wayne Task Force was established in May 2013 as a result of a meeting convened by the Wayne County Commissioners in response to the 2012 Community Health Needs Survey. The initial focus of the Healthy Wayne Task Force was to improve active living in the community through an initiative titled " Go Wayne Go ."
Participants in the Community Dialogue included stakeholders from across the county and from a broad spectrum of sectors: county commissioners, representatives from the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the American Cancer Society, Goldsboro Pediatrics, Goldsboro Family YMCA, the faith-based community, the United Way of Wayne County, the Wayne County Community College, Wayne Memorial Hospital, the public library, Wayne County Public Schools, the Boys & Girls Club, March of Dimes, Literacy Connections of Wayne, the Goldsboro/Wayne County Transportation Authority and others. Wayne County Health Director, Davin Madden, began the day by discussing the Healthy Wayne Task Force, including its mission, vision and the work of the task force to date.
Stephanie Johnson, a Community Coach from UWPHI, made a brief presentation on the collective impact model. She used Spokane County, Wash., as an example of using collective impact to make a significant stride forward, in this case on improving education in the county. Spokane County, Wash., was a recipient of one of the 2014 RWJF Culture of Health Prizes for its efforts (for more information on Spokane's work, listen to NACo's RWJF Culture of Health Prize podcast episode here ). Stephanie discussed the five necessary conditions of collective impact common agenda, shared measurement, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and a backbone organization and how they contribute toward improving health as a community.
Following these brief presentations, participants engaged in a World Caf process for the remainder of the day. The World Caf was facilitated by Stephanie Walker, Senior Consultant at Walker & Associates Consulting Inc. and Adjunct Faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership. World Caf is an interactive activity that is designed to create a blending of perspectives on important questions. The process is intended to elicit issues and ideas on important questions through an open environment in which participants can be candid. Participants attended five separate tables that each addressed one of five different questions during 15-minute rounds.
Using the framework of collective impact, participants discussed how the Healthy Wayne Task Force can achieve its mission across the county. Ideas included expanding the reach of the task force to be more inclusive of areas outside of Goldsboro (the county seat), securing a sustainable funding stream for a full-time task force coordinator and improving community engagement and public awareness of the task force and its initiatives (in particular, Go Wayne Go ). Table facilitators reported out the top ideas discussed at their table during the 5 rounds of the World Caf and participants voted on their top 3 at each table.
Click here for more information on Go Wayne Go.
Fulton County, Ga., will hold the next Community Dialogue on October 30.
To learn more about the Community Dialogues to Improve County Health and NACo's Elected County Officials' Guide to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, please contact Andrew Whitacre, Health Associate, email@example.com or 202.942.4215.