Saturday, November 26, 2011

Squint Your Eyes

Squint your eyes a little and imagine a new partnership to serve adults and children in the Clio Area that has been in development since about 2008, but may be coming together here in late 2011.  The new health partnership would do a better job of diagnosing our health problems, remediate the most obvious issues, and then prepare a new plan for a more healthy future.

As many of us know, the health stats from 2008 are not good for those of us within the 48420 zip code.  In fact, our number of overweight folks with chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes. and even cancer are higher than in the City of Flint or in other suburbs.  The Healthy Community Initiative has been a unique attempt by the Clio Area to get better, but we need to do more on two fronts: 1) keeping track of our progress, and 2) working closely with school children. 

We need more research based activities and we need to start with the youth!  Squint your eyes a little and we can now imagine a new partnership that can meet those two goals.  It's not done yet, but recently, three new developments give me hope that we can do it!

1)  After many meetings and conversations since the fall of 2009, a Clio Area Health Center opened October 1st on Vienna Road thanks to Hamilton Community Health Network.  This Health Center is a family health center, and because of its federal status, our Clio Area Health Center will serve all residents regardless of the level of income or insurance.  Access to health care for every Clio Area resident!

2)  The Greater Flint Health Coalition, in late August of this year, provided the Healthy Community Initiative a small grant to work at Carter Middle School to overcome some serious health deficits. The idea is to help 1000 children and families get more fit and eat better by creating a model healthy school building.  So far, the new project has found that parents and students are interested in becoming more healthy, but need a little help to get it done.  We also know that the need for services may be greater than we had imagined at the beginning.

3) Maybe the most important leg of the three legged stool is the recent designation of Hurley Medical Center as a "Children's Hospital."  Most of us know that Hurley is known for dealing with the most at-risk kids, but this designation will enable Hurley to add more children's services, conduct more research, and do more outreach throughout the county.

Now, squint your eyes and imagine a project that creates a model healthy building for 1000 Clio kids and their families that could be duplicated in other school buildings in Clio and throughout the State.  Imagine that Hurley's new staff would assist the Carter Middle School project do more research and determine individual health needs; and imagine that the new Clio Health Center would make sure that every child and every parent has health services to meet those needs; and then imagine that the all of our friends work together to develop a new plan based on the data collected. 

After nearly four years of work, all three of these developments have happened this fall, and it is like it is meant to be!  It's not done yet, but stay tuned at everythingclio.org for more news.  Please feel free to go to "contact us" or email nate@everythingclio.org  with your comments.

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