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  • Bruce Baker

CHEER Convenes Health Enterprise Zone Planning Retreat

On March 22 and March 23, 2013 CHEER convened a strategic planning retreat of the Long Branch Health Enterprise Zone Coalition. The retreat resulted in a draft strategic plan, which identifies criteria for prioritizing HEZ programs. These criteria were matched to specific proposed programs and the highest priority programs were identified. The retreat was co-sponsored by CHEER and Kaiser Permanente. Participants in the retreat included representatives from the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Holy Cross Hospital, Mary’s Center Health Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, IMPACT Silver Spring, and residents of the Takoma Park and Long Branch community. The retreat was facilitated by John Buck and Monika Megyesi of Governance Alive, using a consent based decision making process called “dynamic governance.”

According to the draft proposal the top priority programs for the HEZ from the original proposal are:

  • Community Health Improvement Process: Engage residents in community improvement processes that lead to greater awareness of health and social determinants of health and encourage their participation in strategies that improve their health and quality of life.

  • Healthy Takoma Fitness Program: Provide quality programs designed to address obesity by establishing measurable weight reduction outcomes through increased physical activity

  • Healthy Eating Long Branch Prescription Program: Coordinate the work of health care providers seeking to support improved diet among patients at risk of diabetes with local farmers markets that also honor SNAP and WIC benefits.

  • Long Branch Health Promoters Program: Coordinate health promoters serving Long Branch; recruit and train health promoters; and link at risk populations to health care, health and wellness activities and social support.

A new priority program was also added that was not in the original State HEZ proposal

  • Community Health Outreach Workers: Establish an outreach and engagement program to reach people who need help getting health insurance under health care reform. This would involve training and deploying community health outreach workers who would provide information, referral, and assistance to uninsured individuals and families that might not be aware of the new health care exchanges or other healthcare access opportunities available to them.

The draft strategic plan also contains specific strategies to build the Health Enterprise Zone as a collective impact effort. These include specifics on building the HEZ Coalition by developing a common agenda, establishing shared measurements of progress, coordinating mutually reinforcing activities, establishing constant communication, and strengthening a backbone organization to operate the coalition.

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