Updates from Health Councils
Call to Action - Eddy County - May 12, 2017
The idea to have an event in Carlsbad really began last fall when some members of the Eddy County Health Council and I (Chris DeBolt) met to gain understanding of where things stood at present and what could be done to revitalize Eddy County’s Health Council. A number of years ago, Eddy County had one of the most active and relevant Health Councils in the SE Region of DOH in Health Promotion. When original DOH funding was lost, it lived for a short while at Eddy County’s offices and then the United Way agreed to become its fiscal sponsor but…it had no coordinator and little leadership. It did however have some money that was moved to the United Way. The Health Promotion Team worked for some time to recruit and reorganize the Health Council but, while a number of community leaders said they would assist as they were able, it seemed to flounder without direction.
We began talking about an event that would bring community organizers and leaders together to call attention to the Health Council’s history there, current health data about Eddy County and what is happening in the community so that the Health Council could, reorganized and restructured, play their convening role to address those health issues. About eighteen people from the services community attended including a County Commissioner and City Marketing Manager, eager to discuss where they were and what could happen next. The Health Council provided a catered lunch which everyone enjoyed, particularly the strawberry cake!
Jimmy Masters, Health Promotion Program Manager for the SE Health Promotion Program within the Public Health Division of DOH , did s short summary of the history of Health Councils and some information of the beginnings of the Eddy County Health Council twenty ( 20 ) years ago. We then heard a presentation about current Eddy County Health Data from Alexis Avery, an Epidemiologist from the NM DOH followed by a discussion at our tables about current community health issues needing attention. There was no shortage of areas of need and all agreed that the community has within it the resources to pull together to bring awareness to them at a higher level. Even better, when asked at the end of this meeting, who would like to continue to come together to revitalize the Eddy County Community Health Council, every hand went up. It was really encouraging to see the commitment and passion these people feel for their community and the work they do within.
We’re looking forward to the next step within four to six weeks which will be a lunchtime meeting to begin to focus on a shared structure and some goal identification. As Jimmy and I have been saying for months, all this needs is a spark…and we think this Call To Action event did the trick.