#LOVE Lansing Celebration Opening remarks

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Thank you to everyone (nearly 400 of you!) neighbors who attended the LOVE Lansing Celebration last night.  Congratulations to all of the honorees and thank you for your work to build strong neighborhoods in Lansing.  By request, below are my opening remarks from the event:

In Lansing, we believe that “neighbor” is a verb.  To neighbor is to build the social infrastructure of our community.  It is to do what needs doing.  While it may be to have the meetings and hash out the bylaws and organizational policies of your neighborhood group.  It is most importantly cleaning the park, organizing the potluck, arranging the garage sale, cleaning up the litter, planting the flowers in the snow like we did last weekend, mowing or shoveling for those who cannot, and keeping a watchful eye out for each other’s safety.  It is taking the extra moment in the driveway to talk with one another before heading inside, it is the cup of coffee at each other’s kitchen table.  When we move the lawn chairs from the back deck to the front porch and talk with those around us, we are neighboring and are building our critical social and civic infrastructure. 

 

And moving from the block level to the city level, we are citizens, another great verb.  Residents simply live in a place.  To Citizen is to take responsibility for and ownership of a place.  Citizens see something needing done and don’t think “who can I call to complain about this?”  They think, “how can I get some neighbors together to change and improve this”?  To Citizen is to commit, to engage, and to be responsible for the well-being of a place.  In this work it is not the old adage “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, rather, it is the “organized and collaborative find the resources to get things done.”

 

When we connect with each other, when we neighbor, when we citizen, we are engaging in public health, crime prevention, and economic development.  When we start with building a social infrastructure, we can then build everything else. 

 

Tonight we recognize and thank those of you who embody these principles and take action to neighbor and to citizen in Lansing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Born Movers® Mother’s Day Edition

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Lois on the road

Out shopping for a Mother’s Day card this week, I realized that I found the selection somewhat disappointing.  All seemed to be along the lines of the Martyrdom of Motherhood variety — you know the themes, thanks for giving everything to us and nothing to yourself, pastels and flowers, etc.  I was looking for one more like, “Hey Mom, I think it’s neat you’re a bad ass“.  Of course my mom did all the traditional things you associate with motherhood for us. We don’t call her the MacGyver of Motherhood for nothing– she can cook, knit, build, sew, repair, finagle or haggle for anything you need. She is not, however, a booboo kisser (thanks Dad for picking up the slack in that area). Her many talents would require an additional post.

Here at Move It Media, we celebrate Natural Born Movers®, so I thought it would be a good time to check in with Mom about her athletic endeavors.  I had to schedule an interview as she has a full day of college courses on the day I tried to connect.  She typically takes a few courses each semester and loves to joke that her GPA is so high because she was “sleeping with the Dean” (that’s my Dad by the way, now retired–and he will be mortified that I wrote that, but it’s Mother’s Day, not Father’s Day, and she will love it).

What’s your course load this semester?:

6 credits — Yoga, Pilates, Water exercise, and Ceramics.  (editor’s note:  what are you doing talking to me–isn’t this finals week?  Get studying!)

H and Gma bike ride

Heading out with Grandson to ride the length of the Erie Canal #Grandparentlikeaboss

Tell us about your upcoming cycling trip:

This summer I’ll be riding a self-contained bicycle trip with my sister, Janie.  We’ll be some senior ladies out on the road.  We plan to leave from Lansing then head west to Ludington.  We’ll take the ferry across Lake Michigan, turn north and head up through Wisconsin. Head east across the UP, cross the Mackinac Bridge and head back down the state to Lansing–about 1500 miles.  We are planning to travel for 5 weeks, camping along the way. We could do it in a much shorter time, but there are several breweries we want to hit.  Who knows, we may never get out of Michigan.

Lois & Janie High Ropes

Lois & Janie on High Ropes course

Since this is a Mother’s Day post, what do you think your mom would think of that?:

I think she would be excited about it.  She wouldn’t do something like that, but she’d support us doing it.  She would be absolutely excited to see us doing it together.  She wanted to live long enough to see us getting along, which she did.

What’s your favorite cycling trip you’ve done?:

My favorite was from Baytown, TX to Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.  Turned out to be 2400 miles.  Along the way we saw great stuff Natchez Trace Mississippi — loved the great roads and history in that area.  We rode to Owosso, MI for my 50th high school class reunion along the way. Then we hooked up with the DALMAC ride to get from Lansing to Sault Ste. Marie.  I’d been planning to do a cross country ride from East to West (of the U.S) and it got cancelled, so we made this one up.  (editor’s note:  read about that trip here).

mom and dad bridge

 

What made you get into cycling:

I’ve always had a bicycle.  One time your Dad thought that I should be riding and he bought me a bike and we just did casual rides.  I was out riding my bike and I was challenged by Dr. Tom Seabourne at Northeast Texas College to do the Texas Chain Ring Challenge.  That was my first organized ride.  I started tour cycling at age 53.  I went on the ride and loved it.  I’m 73 now.  I plan to ride as long as I can.

Does it bother you that one of your sons-in-law (the Swede, not the Aussie) calls you the L Train?:

Haha, no.  Only the people that care about you give you nicknames.  I don’t like it when he calls me LoLo, but it’s still polite, just don’t care for it.

Peter & the L Train

The Swede and the L Train

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  It’s neat that you’re a bad ass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Cool tools for citizen centered health promotion & health in all policies

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My work building Healthy Community Zones with Urban Health Partnerships and the TOUCH initiative in Broward County is in full swing.  Working with transportation engineers, city and county leadership, health care professionals, education leaders, law enforcement, and most importantly, residents, we’ve been busy conducting Walking Audits and extensive data gathering to connect and build upon existing plans.

A huge thank you to the host organizations for your time and effort to coordinate these events in a very short time L A Lee YMCA (Ft. Lauderdale), Austin Hepburn Center (Hallandale Beach), C W Thomas Park (Dania Beach), and Delevoe Park (Broward County Municipal Services District).

Up next the building of Community Action Plans that will guide work for the next two years and beyond.  Follow TOUCH Broward on Facebook  and on Twitter @TOUCHBroward for lots of photos. Here’s what it looks like in action:

 

Citizen centered health promotion policy development in action. Photo credits to Beny Schonfeld.

Citizen centered health promotion policy development in action. Photo credits to Beny Schonfeld.

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You know people are committed when they show up for Walking Audits in the mid-afternoon South Florida August heat!!

As we begin tackling the Community Action Plan building phase, a great resource is the leader in Health In All policies work, Change Lab Solutions.

ChangeLab Solutions provides community-based solutions for America’s most common and preventable diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and asthma. Our solutions promote the common good by making healthier choices easier for everyone.

Their graphic rich, brilliantly simple tools translate the complicated process of policy, system, and environmental change into tools for community action.  These are customizable and beautifully tie in the health in all policies framework into economic development and sustainability.  All tools are available at Change Lab Solutions with direct links below:

Presentation Make the case

Health In All Policies Guide Understand Health In All Policies implementation

Model Policies Tools for plan development

Our method for building Community Action Plans is based on tools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and built with the necessary rigor to potentially secure implementation funding.  This is what we love, translating community goals into formalized plans that match the right funder to that effort.  The TOUCH Healthy Community Zones are on their way!

Time for Citizen Centered Health Promotion in Action

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It’s been an exciting two weeks building the Walking Assessments with our four newly designated Healthy Community Zones in Broward County, FL.  Read the press release for more.  We are mid-process in training walking audit facilitators, inviting community leaders, and creating all of the materials that support these events.

These community input sessions will build our Community Action Plans and advance the work that’s been happening for several years to build a healthy, more equitable community.  Can’t wait to see it all come together next week.

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Builders Series: Lisa Peacock Florida’s First Coast (Jacksonville)

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LISA L. PEACOCK, ACSM- CPT, CHES

I am a huge fan of George Babish, Senior VP of Organizational Advancement, at the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast in Jacksonville, FL. The team of talent he has assembled to advance the healthy living portfolio is outstanding and a lot of fun to work with.  One of which is Lisa Peacock, Director of Healthy Living Innovations:  Chronic Disease Prevention.  A little talk with her about building healthy communities:

Me: Lisa, what is your current role?

Lisa: I focus on chronic disease prevention for the entire First Coast YMCA Association.  We serve 5 counties and 100,000 people through 13 locations.  I work with our signature programs.  I review recommendations coming from YUSA and make suggestions to our organization about which strategies we should implement and when.  I go out to our communities, listen and bring back to our leadership suggestions about how to best serve the needs of the people in those communities. I work with hospital and health care systems and partners in our Healthy Living Centers.

One of my projects includes the Healthy Living Centers at the Williams and Ponte Vedra Ys. The Healthy Living Centers are the first of their kind on the First Coast, bringing medically integrated programs from Baptist Health into the Y – and making these programs more accessible to the surrounding community. More Y Healthy Living Centers are planned in the near future. The flagship Healthy Living Center will be located at the new Riverside Y along with Brooks Rehabilitation and Florida Blue. Our vision: Healthy Living Centers are a community based initiative designed to increase personal engagement and accountability for health, making it easier for people to achieve and sustain a healthier lifestyle.

Part of my responsibility is also to advance our association strategy of developing the Y as a Total Wellness Resource. This includes the delivery of our Y signature programs such as the YMCAs Diabetes Prevention Program and Enhance®Fitness, as well as our adaptive wellness programs, in partnership with Brooks Rehabilitation Health Systems. These adaptive wellness programs are designed to help those with mobility impairments through supervised physical activity.  Through these programs, participants learn how to stay active and improve their health after they complete formal physical therapy.

Where we are going as an organization is exciting.  I’m really involved in changing the way the community works with and perceives the Y.  We are a vital part of the health of our community and the overall healthcare system.

Me:  What’s your biggest challenge?

Lisa:  Time. There are many potential programs to focus on and we lack the time to address them all. It takes a huge amount of time to do diligent research to ensure we develop programs that meet community need and, in the end, transforming the overall health of those participating in our programs. Everyone can think of a great idea/program—that’s the fun part.  But you have to take that idea through focus groups, beta testing, fine-tuning and adjusting in order to do it right.

Me:  Following up with that idea—how’d you keep your job?  You needed a lot of time to show the value of the work you’re doing to the Y organization…

Lisa:  I have a strong faith and pray frequently. Not in the sense of keeping my job, but in the sense of being able to provide what both the association and our communities need. As for keeping programs running, we are blessed to receive grant funding, at times, as we did to launch the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. This grant allowed one of our team members to focus on one program and really put the attention into the details of making the program succeed.  As a health educator, I highly value the concept of disease prevention & lifestyle behavior change. This allows me to speak from the heart about the great work we do. I can get behind an evidence-based program that is proven to work. During the time I was the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator, I felt that my organization really trusted my judgment and I was able to develop professionally as the subject matter expert.

We received the grant and began this work in 2010 and it was three years until we flipped the business model and began receiving reimbursement for the program from Florida Blue in 2013. They are now a third party reimbursement payer.  Without them, we would have a really nice feel good, proven program, but not a strong sustainable business model. Currently, all Florida Blue insured individuals have coverage for and access to the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Florida Blue is also headquartered in Jacksonville, so this provides the opportunity to grow our partnership and improve the health of our community together as true local partners.

Me:  If you had more time (or budget) what would that buy you?

Lisa:  The additional time would buy me more organization and clarity. To have designated time to think, brainstorm with others, and research. To really navigate through and develop business plans. I have an amazing opportunity to work with some really great minds who challenge me. As a health educator, I don’t immediately think about the business model or financials. I would value more time to dive deep into this information and develop it further and to continue exploring how our organization can truly partner on holistic health outcomes.

Me:  Who do you admire inside or outside your industry?

Lisa: I enjoy listening to Heather Hodge Director, Chronic Disease Prevention Programs at YMCA of the USA.  It’s inspiring to hear what our national office is doing at a very high level with partnerships to advance our work.

There is an organization in our community, the New Town Successzone.  They are in a high-risk health zone. Their focus is revitalizing the community. What I value most, is who sits at the table – so many different organizations, of different backgrounds and races, all with the same focus, to better the community. It is very inspiring… I always leave the meeting uplifted.

Hey Honey this is what I do: Citizen-Centered Health Promotion

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“Going Places” Photo Credit: Kevon Bachelor

My primary audience for this post is my husband (17 years next month!) because he unfortunately has to answer this question for others all the time, “what does your wife do, again?”.  He’s actually not convinced I work at all because I just hang out with people I really enjoy, learn about their hopes, dreams & challenges, help them tell stories about their community’s goals, go on a bunch of walking tours, learn, learn, learn, present ideas to policy makers, host a community dance party or two, present about it at some conference, write a few grants, then take a nap.  It’s all pretty messy, super fun, and keeps the lights on around here.

So honey, as I start up another project in Broward County, FL with amazing colleagues at the Urban Health Solutions/Urban Health Partnership, Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Healthy Community Zone project thought I’d write about why someone hires me and what we’re trying to accomplish together.

I work with leaders to build healthy communities through policy, system, and environmental change. (the previous sentence is an example of “grant vomit”).  I like to explain environment as a fast running river.  If you jump into the fast running river you can swim against the current and go upstream.  It will be difficult and you will have to be committed and have the skills and strength to persevere.  It’s not impossible, but very tough.

Most people won’t swim against the river, or they will for only a short time.  This is the experience of an individual living in a community.  If their community supports health it may have safe places to walk or bike to errands, work, and school.  It may have anti-tobacco policies in place.  It may have access to affordable healthy foods and provide healthy meals at schools. It may have limited advertising for unhealthy products.  Individuals can still choose sedentary behavior, unhealthy foods, tobacco usage, and other negative health behaviors, but they will be less convenient than the healthy choice.

Changing the direction of that fast moving river to support healthy behaviors is what policy, system, and environmental change is all about.  We say, our goal is to make the healthy choice the easy and affordable choice.  Notice, it’s not about taking away choices.  It’s changing the current so that as we go with the flow we are moving towards healthier behaviors and communities.  It’s what the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation calls building a Culture of Health.

I don’t make this stuff up.  Take a look at Citizen-Centered Health Promotion:  Building Collaborations to Facilitate Healthy Living published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine and available on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.  Citizen-centered means looking at how an individual’s choices are impacted by all of the environments she/he interacts with.  Our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and larger communities all impact what choices individuals have.  People exist in environments. Communities across the country are recognizing that they have to build a network of these environments to support individual health.

That’s what I do, help people build that network.  Here’s my job description below, found on page S44 of the article:

 A third party is often necessary to convene potential partners, solve logistic challenges, and pool resources to facilitate collaboration. For the majority of success stories involving effective community partnerships, third parties supported by philanthropies or public funding—a community organization or research institution—were key to “connecting the dots.” To make such collaborations scalable and sustainable over time in ordinary settings, where grant support and research investigators are lacking, an infrastructure for third-party support must be available to help communities undertake citizen-centered redesign. Each community must have access to an entity for on-the-ground assistance in building partnerships and designing solutions to help citizens sustain healthy behaviors.”

I build the coalition and help the coalition build the plan.  I basically do three things for communities in this role:

Translation–I am a generalist and I know enough about most sectors that impact the individual to translate among different groups (schools, transportation, housing, business/private sector, higher education, community based organizations, food systems, public health, etc.)  In the article above it’s called “connecting the dots“.

Boil-Down–I believe in using simple language and strive for clarity.  I muddle through “grant-vomit”, business jargon, academic yammering and all other forms of scrambled communication.  I refuse to use the word “stakeholders” (which is just a personal preference, I’m sure you’ve got your pet peeves in this category as well.)  Communities just want to be happier and healthier.  It’s complicated but requires simplicity.

Draw the Picture–Everything is about painting the picture.  We need to see it, experience it, touch it, taste it, smell it, and process it.  Yes, we need the 20 (or 200!) page document that backs up our work, but we need a picture of where we’re going and what it will look like.  That comes from pulling people together, learning, and drawing the picture…and that is what I do.

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Cities of Service Lansing/Flint Peer Learning trip

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I have the great fortune of working with Cities of Service a dynamic organization working to revitalize cities across the world through citizen engagement, impact volunteerism, and innovative approaches to municipal leadership.  Read about our recent trip to Flint for some peer learning with our Mayors & neighborhood leaders and see some of the innovative ways Flint residents are rebuilding their city:

 

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero with Cities of Service staff

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero with Cities of Service staff