Get Healthy Idaho: Building Healthy & Resilient Communities
The research is clear: Up to 80% of what makes us healthy is determined by factors outside of clinic walls, such as access to affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, nutritious foods, livable incomes, and quality educational opportunities.
Get Healthy Idaho provides a unique opportunity to effectively invest in innovative solutions that address the root causes of poor health unique to each community through collaboration, combining resources and aligning goals. This initiative will support an Idaho community to address poor health conditions “downstream” by shaping the factors, supports, services and infrastructure needed “upstream” to create a community where people can be healthy and thrive.
The Get Healthy Idaho (GHI) funding opportunity was announced statewide on October 13. Through this funding opportunity, the Department aims to work with community leaders and change agents in one Idaho community to catalyze upstream, community-driven solutions to address the factors that shape health outcomes and impact hopeful futures.
Two organizations submitted proposals for funding. Both proposals shared compelling stories of their collaborative approaches to achieve better health outcomes in their selected communities. Each of the collaboratives is led by strong and passionate community health leaders with the energy and local networks poised to make a substantial impact.
On Friday, December 11, members of the GHI Technical Review/Funders Committee met to discuss the merits of each proposal and tally the scores each proposal received.
Based on total points awarded and overall merit of the proposal, the Department is pleased to announce the Western Idaho Community Health Collaborative (WICHC) as the first recipient of GHI funding.
Community Needs and Strategies
In partnership with the Elmore County Health Coalition, WICHC will address persistent health challenges faced by the most vulnerable members of Elmore County, including mental and behavioral health and chronic disease outcomes and risk factors, including diabetes and food insecurity.
Recent community health assessment findings from the county revealed residents are concerned with increased stress and isolation and are struggling with poverty, inadequate housing, and low educational attainment. While 41 percent of Elmore County is considered ALICE (Access Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), nearly 55 percent of children in the county live below the Federal Poverty Level and unemployment has increased from 2 percent to 9.3 percent due to COVID-19. These and other challenges have contributed to higher than average rates of suicide and chronic diseases in the county.
In this first year, WICHC’s community-focused strategy includes convening their Community Action Team to plan and implement their community assessment strategy, and expand partnerships and build bridges that connect representatives from marginalized groups, including veterans and Hispanic/Latinx residents. They have proposed robust efforts to assess the community through traveling town halls, focus group sessions with community members, and surveys to better understand the challenges and gather ideas and solutions to improve health in all the places they live, learn, work, and play in the county. These ideas and more will become an actionable roadmap towards achieving better health.
Extensive groundwork has already been laid in the county, setting the stage for this next and important round of health investments. Recent policy and environmental changes to promote health in Elmore County include efforts to increase physical activity in early childhood settings, schools, and parks; hosting walkability workshops; including health recommendations in Mountain Home’s Comprehensive Plan; installing tobacco-free signage; expanding food access and a food pantry in Mountain Home School District; and expanding behavioral health services.
We look forward to working with WICHC and Elmore County over the next four years.
Questions about Get Healthy Idaho and this funding opportunity can be directed to: GetHealthyIdaho@dhw.idaho.gov