Umatilla County Health Department aims to make the county a healthier place to live with a Year of Wellness.
Jim Setzer, health department director, described the program to the board of county commissioners Wednesday in Pendleton as a series of month-to-month themes and activities to promote healthier living.
The program is one of the department’s major efforts of the coming year, he said, and part of an overall shift from strictly providing services to individuals to making Umatilla County “a place where it’s easy to be healthy.”
Doing so will take outreach, money and help from community partners — and not just the hospitals and clinics. Setzer said the county will need to connect with businesses and institutions “that have a role in and a vested interest in making Umatilla County a healthier place.”
Tillamook County in 2016 implemented a Year of Wellness program and received contributions from health centers and clinics, as well as from local farms, Fred Meyer and the Tillamook County Creamery Association. Tillamook County formed a task force, several subcommittees and a variety of events and materials to encourage wellness, from yoga classes to healthier recipes. The program continues to this day.
Setzer said this was an opportunity for Umatilla County Health Department to broaden its partnerships as well.
County employees, however, cannot solicit donations without the approval of the board of commissioners. Setzer said the program will need in-kind and cash donations and asked the board for the OK.
Murdock said this not like “bake sales and car washes” but closer to grants from organizations that could benefit from healthier employees and residents.
Setzer concurred and added there is no budget yet, but the fundraising goal would be $20,000-$25,000. The board of commissioners voted 3-0 to allow employees to seek donations for the project.