The Benefits of Working Collaboratively

Jul 11, 2007 | Health, July 2007, Mind & Body

Helping to identify and solve community health issues

By Nicole Rogers, MPH, CHES

Since its inception in 1997, the mission of The Health Collaborative has been to improve the health status of our community through collaborative means. It benefits us all when the community works together to find answers to health care issues. Collaboration raises awareness of community health issues and highlights spots where gaps in service exist. It brings our community’s brightest minds together and acts on the synergy of like-minded community health initiatives. In addition, it helps those involved gain a deeper understanding of our health care issues as individuals from a variety of disciplines bring their areas of expertise and community knowledge to the table. Typically it’s a very cost-effective way to address community issues since the goal of collaboration is to minimize duplication of efforts and maximize the resources in the community.

As The Health Collaborative gets ready to celebrate its tenth anniversary, we are thankful for the many healthcare partners in our community. Some of the achievements of the Health Collaborative to date are:

• Completion of the three Bexar County Community Health Assessments in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

• The creation of Fit City and Fit Schools which collaboratively addressed obesity, Type II diabetes, and increased physical fitness through programs such as Walk San Antonio and the Healthy Vending Initiative.

• The creation of the Youth Mental Health Council, which works toward maximizing resources to increase community awareness and services regarding youth mental health issues, including depression, cutting, eating disorders and teen suicide.

• The newly created and implemented Project Measure Up, which is the youth overweight and obesity surveillance project based in Bexar County Independent School Districts that works collaboratively with local youth obesity prevention partners to maximize programs and policies in the schools.

Remember: You don’t have to be a hospital system or a social service agency to support good health in Bexar County collaboratively. Join a fun run for health, volunteer at your local hospital, food pantry or Meals on Wheels. Each one of us is important to this community, and improving our health together is the very definition of Community health.

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