We believe good health is not just the absence of illness and disease—it’s a state of physical, mental and social well-being—and it’s a goal for our communities that can’t be achieved alone. Through key partnerships, such as Healthy Community Network, Community Health Council of Lebanon County, Healthy Adams County, Healthy Franklin County and Healthy York County Coalition, WellSpan works with community members, businesses, and health and human service organizations to share ideas and focus on programs and services that sustain and strengthen the communities where we live, work and play.
During COVID-19, WellSpan played a vital part in supporting our community members with timely and important health information and services, as well as supporting local community partner organizations. One of the most important topics was safety information and connecting our communities to the healthcare they need during the pandemic.
- Addressed hunger by reaching 470 individuals through the Healthy Options program, 350 individuals/SNAP recipients through the Fruit and Veggie Bucks program with local grocery stores, and over 500 recipients of discounted fruits and vegetables through the seasonal Adams County Farmers Market FMNP and SNAP double dollars programs.
- Promoted food distribution to children and families through the COVID-19 pandemic through weekly phone calls with school districts, backpack programs, food pantries, outreach to social service agencies and information sharing on food availability in the county.
- Engaged hundreds of community members in Community Wellness Connections focused on four dimensions of health (mind, body, spirit, and community). Activities included a screening of the film “May I Be Happy” about mindfulness in the classroom, an annual health summit on Mental Health and Wellness topics, presentations on sleep disorders and other wellness topics, and family physical fitness activities.
- Engaged more than 1,500 community members in free walking parties, hikes and one 5K event. Self-serve walks and hikes, as well as virtual strength training, were offered through COVID-19.
- Established Franklin Forward, which allowed Healthy Franklin County to pivot toward addressing changing and emerging community needs related to COVID-19. Through this effort, the coalition addressed emergency food security; organized a health disparities task force to perform public health outreach to vulnerable and minority populations; and created a task force to support re-opening and recovery efforts.
- Promoted mental health resources, by distributing 1,000 “Talk About It” coasters at local events, restaurants and bars for Suicide Prevention Month; hosting a free community screening of the documentary “The S Word” followed by facilitated group discussions with 83 participants; and distributing 800 “Talk About It” window clings to local high schools and healthcare facilities. The coalition also partnered with the Franklin County GIS Department to create a Mental Health Providers map and highlighted local mental health providers with “Thank a Mental Health Worker” social media campaign.
- Designed Get Fit, a Franklin County web-based campaign to promote physical activity resources and assets in the community.
- Hosted two health forums with 275 community participants to discuss learnings and identify collaborative opportunities to improve awareness of social determinants of health’s impact on vulnerable populations.
- Conducted walking audits in two county locations and engaged municipal leaders in discussion on ways to improve the safety and walkability of roads with heavy foot traffic.
- Engaged more than 150 community members in York County Walks – a community-based walking and wellness initiative.
- Introduced initiative under the Access & Empowerment Committee to establish long-term deeper relationships with underrepresented groups for greater diversity and inclusivity in community health planning.
- Educated 168 community members through Your Life Your Wishes, which focuses on the importance of advance care planning and end-of-life care.
- Led awareness and advocacy activities in an effort to gain support of retaining fluoridation in a local community water supply.
- Continued county-wide efforts to address physical health, mental well-being, and social determinants of health.
- Instituted a series of video interviews with social services agencies, health care facilities and faith-based organizations to keep residents connected to resources during COVID-19 crisis.
- Introduced the “Talk Tank”, an innovative approach that connects individuals remotely from an accessible, yet private pod, to Crisis Intervention by way of a non-scheduled video encounter.
- Donated more than 500 pounds of produce grown in the Ephrata Garden to the food pantry at Ephrata Area Social Services.
- Added stops to the free Hub shuttle between Ephrata Commons and the Declaration House in Denver to include WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital, Ephrata Area Social Services and downtown Ephrata.
- Quickly mobilized Hub partners to address the needs of community members during the COVID-19 crisis by offering food, housing and utility assistance.
- Began convening a Community Health Worker Networking group with 16 agencies participating on a regular basis. This group invites speakers and connects resources throughout the country to this very important group of service providers.
- Launched a county-wide Lyme disease awareness campaign.
- Received a Community Violence Prevention grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to mitigate the harmful impacts of early trauma and adversity in Lebanon County.
- Participated in regional efforts to fight COVID-19 by developing a local protocol for individual unable to self-isolate (homeless), overseeing a regional PSA campaign in English and Spanish and meeting regularly with stakeholders from around the County to discuss new developments and opportunities.