Woman picking vegetables as part of the gleaning project
The Gleaning Project works to provide the under-resourced population of Franklin County with locally-grown produce to help reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and prevent produce from going to waste. It receives grant support from the Summit Endowment.
Thursday, February 1, 2018

The word “hope” is a powerful one. Summit Health wants its community to have hope that a healthier way of life is possible.

A community’s ability to thrive rests largely on the well-being of its residents: their physical and mental health; access to services and recreation; and opportunities for economic prosperity. Creating this type of environment doesn’t happen quickly or easily, though. It takes a concentrated, collective effort to enact change that will positively affect the lives of residents not only now, but in the years to come.

“Through community collaboration and education initiatives, we are striving to create a positive collective impact on the health of our community,” said Director of Community Services Ann Spottswood. “We are here for our neighbors to give them hope that a healthier way of life exists.”

For more than two decades, Summit Health has conducted research called a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) to identify local gaps, strengths, and opportunities to better address community needs as they relate to our neighbors’ health and health care. In partnership with Healthy Franklin County, an assessment that includes a survey of county residents is conducted every three years. The next CHNA will take place later this year.

From the data collected, Summit Health Community Services department, in conjunction with Healthy Franklin County, creates a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) to help guide the development of programs that promote and help educate the public on healthy behaviors. This is an important first step in impacting the health of the community.

The Community Services team interacted with more than 10,000 area residents through their implementation of health-related and prevention-focused programs; free screenings; and participation in local events in the last year alone.

Spottswood said this collective approach illustrates that it takes more than just a health system to have impact. Summit Health is working in partnership with other nonprofit organizations to be the vehicle that helps change poor health habits, break patterns, and, eventually, improve well-being. “In our collective efforts,” said Spottswood, “we are continuously inspired by the hope that our friends and neighbors will live happier, healthier, safer lives.”

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