Results of the 2019 Dunn County Community Health Needs will be revealed at the first Community Health Coalition Conference at University of Wisconsin-Stout on Tuesday, July 16.
The Dunn County Community Health Coalition event, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Memorial Student Center, will be a celebration of the coalition. The coalition, also known as Health Dunn Right, includes the university, Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Dunn County Health Department and the Community Foundation of Dunn County.
Health Dunn Right is also supported by the Initiative for the Creation of the UW-Stout Center for the Study and Promotion of Health and Wellbeing.
The conference is free and open to community members, thanks to a donation by the Community Foundation of Dunn County. Lunch will be provided.
The health assessment results and community input will be used to create a County Health Improvement Plan. Other conference sessions will focus on how to strengthen coalition capacity, guide attendees on how to build community leadership, develop active participation skills and energize collective action.
“We want community members to help guide our efforts,” said Cristy Linse, director of the UW-Stout initiative. “It’s meant to gather people with similar interests and ideas and move forward.”
Factors that impact mental and emotional health needs include availability and access to high-quality education, nutritious food, decent and safe housing, affordable and reliable public transportation, culturally sensitive health care providers, health insurance, and clean water and air, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Geographic location also can impact health disparities.
Lauri Badura of Oconomowoc and Deb Clarke are the conference keynote speakers.
Badura will address drug addiction and its relationship with mental health and her grassroots organization, Saving Others For Archie. She started SOFA in memory of her first son, Archie, 19, who died from a heroin overdose in 2014. She will address how such organizations can positively impact a community. SOFA also focuses on treating mental illness.
Clarke, a leadership and organizational development trainer for Chippewa Valley Technical College, will talk on dynamic team building specific to how accountability can be achieved among team members in a community coalition.
Community members interested in the health and wellbeing of Dunn County citizens are encouraged to attend the conference, including direct health providers, business owners, faith and community leaders, retirees, students, parents, nonprofit and government leaders and elected officials.
Mayor Randy Knaack supports the initiative and encourages Dunn County residents to attend and find out how they can be part of the solutions.
“This effort will impact our children for the rest of their lives, and it has to start here with all citizens working together,” Knaack said. “It needs all of us working on improving our situation regarding health issues. Good health is important to all of us living in Menomonie and Dunn County.”
The idea for a health center at UW-Stout started about three years ago with Bob Salt, dean of the College of Education, Hospitality, Health and Human Sciences. The center could provide programs, conferences, workshops and other events for those in the health and wellness fields to help continue their learning. Yearly conferences could help the public learn more about health care options, including affordability and availability.
Faculty and students could conduct research and work with the public. An online giving page has been created to help establish the center, which is expected to be self-sustaining through grants and/or private funding.
UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.
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