The Washington County Wellness Initiative is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting the numerous organizations, coalitions, initiatives, and projects providing services to our residents with the goal of improving the overall “health” of the communities throughout the county.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY WELLNESS INITIATIVE, INC.
The residents of Washington County came together in January, 2004 to talk about community needs and concerns. Forty-five individuals attended the first meeting from various community sectors including concerned citizens, businesses, government, social services, schools, law enforcement, neighborhoods, faith community, youth serving organizations, health care, and tribal. The group identified areas of concern which included: access for adult indigent health care, lack of affordable health care, lack of adult counseling and mental health issues, need for employee health/wellness programs, lack of affordable housing, lack of dental care, lack of transportation, high costs of medications, need for youth prevention programs, late/no prenatal care especially in the Hispanic population, as well as, medical/health literacy issues among Hispanics, need for advocacy on health issues, daycare for teen moms, children not getting immunized, and the need to educate voters on current issues. In an effort to respond to these concerns, the group formed the WCWI with a mission to strengthen and transform the public health infrastructure in Washington County. The WCWI is an Oklahoma Turning Point Coalition formed as part of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Office of Public Health Innovation, Oklahoma Turning Point Community Partnerships initiative. WCWI has grown to a diverse group of 190 public health partners.
Since that first meeting, the WCWI membership has grown to over 190 community partners from over 20 different community sectors. In December 2010, the Washington County Health Department and the WCWI began a strategy to improve the county’s health through a process called Mobilizing for Action toward Planning and Partnership. This again involved a Community Health Assessment administered countywide and the end result would be a Community Health Improvement Plan. The process included: Vision for Washington County, Four Community Based Assessments, Identification of Strategic Issues, and Formulation of Goals and Strategies. In May 2011, the data from the assessments was presented to the Initiative and four subcommittees were formed: 1) Health Care; 2) Mental Health; 3) Poverty; and 4) Lifestyle and Prevention. Each subcommittee has formulated Goals and Strategies and is working on implementation.
The Public Health Institute of Oklahoma (PHIO) has established a certification process to launch a system of county health improvement organizations (CHIOs) throughout the state which can: a) assess and prioritize the health and health care needs of their communities; b) request external assistance; and c) attract sufficient funding to hire or contract for resources (e.g. care managers, registry operators, community health workers, information technology and consultants, pharmacy consultants, etc.) as needed to support primary care and community health. The WCWI was the first organization in the State of Oklahoma to receive certification as a County Health Improvement Organization (CHIO). The WCWI is now one of eighteen CHIOs that form the ground floor of a statewide network that will be able to acquire and develop the resources needed for improving the health care services and health of communities. With assistance from PHIO and University of Oklahoma Department of Family and Community Medicine, WCWI is developing a sustainable quality improvement (QI) support system for primary care providers within our service area including performance evaluation/feedback, identification/spread of best practices, academic detailing, and practice facilitation, coordinated by PHIO with the support of educational institutions.
WASHINGTON COUNTY WELLNESS INITIATIVE, INC. BOARD MEMBERS
President: Sherri Wilt
Vice President: Deb Cook, RN
Secretary: Michael Woods, MD
Treasurer: Roseanne Shveima
CHIO SECTOR REPRESENTATIVES:
Legal Sector Representative: Vacant
Children Sector Representative: Lori Moynihan, RN
Business Sector Representative: Sherri Wilt
Social Services Sector Representative: Sam Westfall
Public Health Sector Representative: Vacant
Tribal Sector Representative: Vacant
Law Enforcement Sector Representative: Vacant
Elderly Sector Representative: Mike Fogle
Minority Sector Representative: Milagros Cappelletti
OK Turning Point Sector Representative: Vacant
Faith Sector Representative: Deb Cook, RN
Schools Sector Representative: Vacant
Media Sector Representative: Vacant
Mental Health Sector Representative: Charles Danley (Kim Hill, Delegate)
Technology Sector Representative: Vacant
Volunteer Sector Representative: Vacant
Nonprofit Sector Representative: Vacant
Serve as the 501(c)(3) fiscal agent for member organizations, work groups, committees, initiatives, and projects
Encourage member engagement and to pool community resources
Improve Washington County communities’ capacity to obtain optimum health and social well-being outcomes for our citizens
Collaborate with the Washington County Health Department to conduct assessments to identify gaps in services
Implement plans and strategies to address gaps
Memorialize the institutional memory of the WCWI and all of its partners to aid in sustainability and organizational compliance
The Washington County Wellness Initiative, Inc. was incorporated within the State of Oklahoma on 8 February 2014. On 4 September 2014, WCWI received notification of 501(c)(3) exempt status effective on 8 February 2014 from the Internal Revenue Service.