Monday, April 1st
Kuljit Singh, Owner, ARCO Quickstop
Kuljit Singh, owner of a Clark County neighborhood convenience store, believes promoting healthy choices and growing his business can be achieved together. Mr. Singh was one of the first business owners to commit to pilot Clark County’s Healthy Here Now Neighborhood Store program. This program aims to increase access to healthy, affordable food by providing information to business owners on how to buy, stock, and market healthy foods. From the start, Kuljit demonstrated an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards introducing change in his store. He has embraced his dual role as a community member and businessman, recognizing the role business can play in creating the healthy environment he desires for his own family. Kuljit recently purchased another store and immediately began making improvements, including the removal of smoking pipes and other drug paraphenalia from the shelves. He plans to offer local produce at this new store and to host a farmer’s market event in the parking lot.
Toni Lodge, Co-Founder and Executive Director, NATIVE Project
Toni Lodge recognizes that Native Americans are often the “winners in the loser categories” of health and social determinants. As co-founder and executive director of NATIVE Project, Ms. Lodge displays fierce dedication to empowering her community to achieve better health. Based in Spokane, the NATIVE Project’s mission is to “provide quality services that promote wellness and balance of mind, body and spirit for individuals, staff, families, and communities.” The NATIVE Project engages the community with events that offer health education and social/cultural components. Its programs and services aim to improve health and well-being on multiple levels (individual, family, tribe). Due to her efforts, the lowest served population in the Spokane region has greater access to a wide range of health services and a better chance for achieving improved health.
Tuesday, April 2nd
Seattle Housing Authority- Providing a Safe and Healthy Home
Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) provides long-term rental housing and rental assistance to more than 26,000 people earning low income wages. With a Communities Putting Prevention to Work sub-grant, the agency developed and implemented a smoke-free housing policy. SHA met its initial goal of 3500 smoke free units three months in advance of its November 2011 deadline and voted to make all its unit smoke free by February 2012. To facilitate the transition and support success, the agency identified cessation options for residents, conducted resident awareness activities and worked to align staff and partners with the policy. By making developments that house families smoke free, SHA hopes to encourage current resident smokers to quit thereby reducing children’s exposure to second hand smoke. SHA also anticipates additional positive impacts, such as fewer children taking up smoking as a habit and higher resident satisfaction in its developments. The agency intends to use its experience to encourage smoke free policies elsewhere by partnering with other King County agencies that serve people earning low income wages and the disabled to expand education efforts related to smoke free policies and to assist with policy implementation.
Tricia Sinek, Franciscan Health System-Empowering a Healthy Community
Tricia Sinek is a powerful and compassionate leader with an unflagging devotion to improving cancer outcomes for medically under-served community members, including the poor and uninsured, non-English speaking, racial and ethnic minority groups, LGBT, and the elderly. A practical visionary, Tricia has created innovative and effective programs like the award-winning Breast Cancer Navigator Program for low-income, minority women, which employs community navigators to provide breast health education and cancer treatment support. With over 24,000 women served since 2005, the program has measurably improved minority screening rates and increased early detection and treatment. Tricia also developed the free Pierce County Cancer Survivors’ Conference, which annually helps over 350 survivors and their families gain vital information and support. Other programs she has played a role in starting include prostate screening in African American churches, increased minority participation in clinical cancer trials and free/accessible tobacco cessation programs. Additionally, Tricia advances systems change by advising other organizations, building community partnerships, leading fundraising efforts, and engaging in legislative advocacy. She relentlessly works to make sure uninsured patients receive quality cancer treatment. Tricia’s cancer equity work is transforming lives and the regional cancer care environment. Many thousands of our most vulnerable, highest need community members have directly benefited from Tricia’s dedication and passion. Her impact extends beyond these individuals to their families, social networks, and our broader community.
Wednesday, April 3rd
Ensuring a Safe and Healthy School Environment: Maywood Hills Elementary School
By championing immunization as a school priority, Maywood Hills Elementary has increased vaccination rates among its student population and raised awareness of the community wide benefit of immunization. Maywood Hills is a participant in the Immunity Community (IC) program of Vax Northwest.* The school has built a dynamic team that includes two parent advocates, Kendi Locknane and Rachel Anderson, the school nurse, Peggy Sturm, and the district level Nursing Supervisor, Sandie Tracy. Together these women have elevated the importance of immunization by disseminating educational materials, speaking at PTA meetings, and writing articles for the school newsletter. Nurse Peggy regularly communicates with parents about current immunization topics, like the 2012 pertussis epidemic, and makes sure kids are up-to-date on their immunizations by reviewing records and contacting parents. She and Kendi wrote to all incoming kindergarten parents urging them to make sure their child was up-to-date on immunizations and why it’s important to vaccinate and provided resources for more information. Sandie Tracy has been a strong advocate for the program at the district level. This team of immunization champions are achieving positive change with benefits that extend well beyond the school community.
*Immunity Community is a community engagement program that activates parents who value immunization by increasing their confidence to speak out in support of immunization in their communities. The goal of Immunity Community is to increase conversations about the positive aspects of vaccination and help parents embrace vaccination as a community priority.
Empowering a Healthy Community: Lynne Everson, Spokane Regional Health District
Lynn Everson’s work proudly and steadfastly reflects public health’s commitment to ensuring equitable access to prevention and care services for our region’s under-served populations. Lynn is the Syringe Services Coordinator at Spokane Regional Health District. Over 20 years ago, she initiated one of the first syringe exchanges in Washington state and one of the first HIV prevention street outreach programs for prostituted men and women. In addition to making sure that thousands of injection drug users had access to clean syringes across the span of two decades, Lynn has offered endless support and encouragement to her clients, knowing that everyone can make healthier choices and have hope for the future. Every year Lynn facilitates referrals to treatment facilities for clients and helps them obtain care for urgent medical needs. She continually offers encouragement and hope to these often overlooked community members. Over the years, she has brought in thousands of hours of community donated time. When staffing grew thin due to budget cuts, she recruited community volunteers to help staff the needle exchange. In addition, she uses the knowledge she has gained through her work to teach area university students about the complexities of working with vulnerable populations and how to achieve positive change. Lynn’s tireless passion has resulted in the most disenfranchised populations in our community having a voice, and equal access to HIV prevention services. She has made a great mark in the Spokane community.
Thursday, April 4th
Creating a Healthy Workplace: Seattle Children’s Hospital
By offering its employees free bicycles and incentives to ride them, Seattle Children’s is encouraging its workforce to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle. In 2008, Children’s became the first organization in Seattle (and the region) to establish a company bike program. Within weeks, employees had signed out the initial 100 bikes. The program now provides bikes to over 200 employees, who commit to riding to work at least two times per week. During bike to work month, Children’s consistently achieves the highest employee participation in the region.
The program has multiple features to facilitate participation, such as a guaranteed ride home program, commuter challenges, a bike sharing option, help mapping a route to work, safety and maintenance classes, and locker rooms and showers. Along with the bikes, program participants also receive key accessories such as helmets, lights and locks. To promote safety, a bike mechanic is on-site each week and Children’s pays for the first $100 of every staff member’s bike tune up costs each year. As the hospital expands in both size and staff, it expects the number of employees biking to work to grow as well. The hospital also pledged $2 million in its master plan to improve walking and biking infrastructure in its NE Seattle neighborhood, recognizing that such improvements would benefit both its employees and the community at large.
Empowering a Healthy Community: Elizabeth and Megan Wallace and Dustin Schaefer
Photovoice is a Participatory Research methodology that allows those who don’t typically have a “voice” to use photographs to share their experience. Spokane students Elizabeth and Megan Wallace and Dustin Schaefer took their Photovoice research to unexpected levels. Using a Community Assessment of Neighborhood Stores survey, they assessed and compared the placement, pricing and advertising of alcohol and tobacco products in their neighborhood of East Central Spokane and Comstock, a more affluent neighborhood 5 miles away. Their photographs demonstrated how advertising targets youth, in both container design and placement. They also identified subtle messaging through use of sexually provocative advertising for lower income neighborhoods compared to family oriented messaging for higher income neighborhoods. Using data provided by Spokane Regional Health District, the students identified multiple health inequities between the two neighborhoods; most startling was Comstock’s eleven year higher life expectancy. They used their findings in testimony before the Liquor Control Board to support a mandatory Alcohol Impact Area designation for their neighborhood, which passed. They also made presentations to the Spokane City Council regarding laws exempting Spokane from certain alcohol advertising restrictions and to businesses regarding voluntary changes to advertising practices. Elizabeth, Megan and Dustin continue to work diligently to create family friendly business criteria aimed at improving health and safety in their neighborhood.
Friday, April 5th
Protecting You While You’re on the Move: Bicycle Alliance of Washington
For 26 years, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington(formerly Northwest Bicycle Federation) has worked to make bicycling safer and easier for all people in Washington. This year the Alliance has been a regular presence in Olympia advocating for the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill. This legislation would grant cities and towns the right to lower speed limits on non-arterial streets to 20 mph without conducting a traffic and engineering study. The aim is to increase safety by increasing local control. The bill passed the House in February and is awaiting a vote in the Senate (the Senate Transportation Committee has tagged it a “do-pass”), expected in the next few days.
The Alliance has previously been instrumental in the passage of legislation to make texting and hand held device use while driving a primary offense and legislation requiring Traffic School curriculum to include how to safely pass cyclists and pedestrians. Its efforts to promote safety go beyond advocacy. The Alliance conducts bike safety education programs such as Go by Bike and Safe Routes to Schools. It also encourages biking through sponsored rides, and its work, in partnership with the State Department of Transportation, to create scenic bike routes. Through these diverse efforts, the Bicycle Alliance has made it safer for people to bike, walk and play throughout Washington.
Empowering a Healthy Community: Dr. Martina Whelshula, The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations
Dr. Martina Whelshula has positively impacted communities around the state by educating parents and children about adolescent chemical dependency. A member of the Arrow Lakes Nation of the Colville Indian Reservation, Dr. Whelshula is the Executive Director of The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations, a nonprofit adolescent chemical dependency treatment center in Spokane Valley. Its services focus on the needs of Native American populations but are open to all adolescents. Healing Lodge provides a safe environment where youth enjoy activities that go beyond education about addictions. Dr. Whelshula incorporates elements of youth empowerment in the residential program to enhance academic skills through experiential learning, a proven education model for minorities. Through Outreach and Aftercare programs, Dr. Whelshula connects youth and counselors with courts and probation officers. In doing so, she helps the youth to change the direction of their lives and promotes their achievement of a healthy lifestyle in the greater community. Under her leadership, Healing Lodge has achieved a relapse rate of 23% – much lower than the national relapse rate of 90%. Youth from the Healing Lodge can truly begin anew as they return to their home communities with a new outlook for the possibilities open to them. In addition, Dr. Whelshula has made an impact nationally for her work related to brain development in early childhood learning and dealing with childhood trauma.