Participants at the Health Summit discuss and brain storm together on the topics they were most interested in. Photo by Melanie Dobson
By Melanie Dobson
There was good food and a gathering of minds for some great discussion at the second annual Dodge County Community Health summit. People interested in promoting healthy living in Dodge County came together on February 28 at the Dodge Center Community Room. There were community leaders, business owners, health workers and teenagers that presented a video on healthy aspects of Dodge County. These were the people breathing life and giving legs to Dodge Refreshed. (The mission statement for Dodge Refreshed is at right)
Once signed in each participant wrote down on and tacked on a board the community groups they were involved with, such chamber, Lions Club, their church, Bible study group etc. Then you were given three stickers to place on topics that you felt were the most important to discuss. Topics were Develop new healthy activities; Engage children and teens in health; Leverage communication channels to spread our message; Support care for holistic health and Improve access to wellness resources. There were two break out sessions where people could go to the table that had a topic they were most passionate about. They wrote notes and ideas on post-its or directly on the brown paper table cloths. After a period of time, one person gave a synopsis of what their group came up with. Some of the ideas/suggestions were: safe walking paths and trails; providing low cost access to healthy activity and related to that, more computer access for those that don't have them; get kids away form TV; reinforce the Family Dinner Project; have a grocery store feature a healthy food with a recipe and information; have a Dodge County healthy theme for a month with schools, grocery stores, newspapers, etc all promoting together; a cooking show on the local cable teaching a healthy recipe. Good stuff.
Elizabeth (Liz) Olive served as coordinator for the summit. She introduced Dr. Robert Flinchbaugh, medical director of the Mayo Family Clinic in Kasson and Larry Dobson of Community News Corp.
Dr. Flinchbaugh explained the team approach health care that will be started at the Kasson Clinic this month. " I am really excited , this will be a major shift in how health care is distributed," Flinchbaugh said. "Rochester has its eyes on us as a model for the health system at Mayo."
It is a team based health care. There will be four teams at the Kasson Clinic. Each team will have a doctor, six resident doctors, nurses and other staff. Instead of being assigned a doctor a patient will be assigned to a team. At the beginning of each half day the team will discuss the patients coming in that day.
When not having to go form room to room, the model provides time for the doctor use the phone, write a letter, to follow up and provide care for those not in that day. It is also a dynamic process; able to flex with the patient as unexpected things come up.
Dr. Flinchbaugh said his goal is to have "Dodge County noted as the healthiest in the state, then the country."
Dobson talked about the recurrent health related issues he sees as a newspaper publisher and some of the efforts that have been made or may need to be made in the county to address them. He said, as an example, the previous week there were three suicide threats and one attempted suicide, and that is not at all unusual. Last year there was a conference arranged by the sheriff to consider what can be done to prevent suicide. The decision was to have Public Health deal with it, but Dobson said it is an issue that requires community-wide awareness and participation, as do many other health issues, such as accident prevention, obesity, stress and depression.
Dobson referred to the Blue Zone program at Albert Lea and its "walking school buses," which are parents walking groups of students to school. He said the newspapers started the monthly health section as on effort to promote community health and began running the monthly "Dodge Refreshed" column at Olive's request as an extension of the newspaper's effort.
Olive, School Superintendent Robert Kelly and Dobson had previously discussed the possibilities of a Dodge County Health Expo, and he talked a little about how the new construction at the school may make putting on such an event possible.
Olive, who is with the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, organized the Health Summit as part of an ongoing Mayo Clinic outreach in Dodge County to promote health and wellness among county residents.