Updated: Mar 14
Olympic Community of Health (OCH) partners with health-serving organizations and Tribes across Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap counties to improve individual and population health and advance equity by addressing the determinants of health.
In 2022, OCH sought to meaningfully engage additional partners on projects including tackling stigma of substance use disorder, supporting the health-serving workforce, community-clinical linkages, addressing social determinants of health, and more. OCH funded 10 partners totaling $320,000.
Funded partners implemented individual project plans as well as participated in collaborative groups to inform OCH’s action plans for 2023-2026. OCH is proud to expand our network of partners. We are so inspired by the creativity, innovation, and compassion present across the region. Here are some of the accomplishments and successes from these partner projects:
Together, recovery is possible
Believe in Recovery’s mobile clinic is now fully operational and serves South Jefferson County M-Th each week. They were awarded grant funds, in addition to those provided by OCH, to sustain the mobile unit through 2024. They shared that they are most excited about, “bringing the services to where they are needed most in our community!”
Clallam Health and Human Services Harm Reduction Health Center partnered with REdisCOVERY to host a substance use disorder professional (SUD-P) onsite. Even in this initial project phase, three individuals were referred to treatment. Additionally, one program participant sought support to re-engage in treatment following relapse, indicating participants recognize they are supported wherever they are in their substance use journey. Moving forward they hope to complete 3-6 assessments per month. They shared, “we are excited to see the focus on stigma reduction moving forward with this work.”
Olympic Peninsula Community Clinic collaborated with Clallam County Jail Facilities to expand the Medications for Opioid Use Disorder jail program, as well as expand assessments twice a month on the west end of Clallam County. They shared, “the initial reaction to our introduction of services into the West End is thrilling! We are very excited to connect with other service providers and those in need of services in the West End and across the county.”
Access to the full spectrum of care
The City of Poulsbo sought to improve and expand the Poulsbo Fire CARES program. In the last six months, the program expanded beyond North Kitsap to include Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue. The program has seen an increase in referrals, hired a geriatric specialist to accept referrals, hired a second social worker to add Friday hours, implemented a data collection and referral software, and formed stronger partnerships.
The Port Angeles Fire Department purchased portable equipment to enhance services, communication, and referrals. Soon, they will fully launch an in-the-field blood analyzer program providing reliable and timely results to clinical providers. Representatives from the Community Paramedicine program participated in OCH’s Coffee Break video series, sharing the importance of community and clinical partnerships. “The exchange of information and the collaborative brainstorming sessions have been extremely fruitful, encouraging, and insightful.”
Individual needs are met timely, easily, and compassionately
The Clallam Resilience Project implemented Handle With Care in four school districts, a program that allows first responders to notify the school district when they encounter a child at a traumatic scene with 10 first responding agencies, and various community partners like the Prosecutor’s Office and OESD. Moving forward they hope to implement an app-based notification system across Clallam County. The Clallam Resilience Project also made low-barrier funds available to partnering agencies seeking to improve their own trauma-informed practices. Example of a funded request is improved audio and recording equipment for Port Angeles Police Department investigations (limiting the need for survivors to repeat sharing their stories unnecessarily). They shared, “we are excited to be engaging in discussions with OCH and other regional trauma informed care trainers about how to best offer trauma informed care learning events for the health-serving workforce.”
The Sequim Food Bank plans infrastructure improvements to meet increased demand and large collaborative events with health-serving partners. In the meantime, they continue to host collaborative events, offering expanded health services and resources on-site, meeting people where they are. The Sequim Food Bank discussed the connection between housing and health in OCH’s Coffee Break video. “I am most excited about being part of a work that is creating a network of partners and providing a central place where representatives of all these agencies could be in one safe, easily accessible place so that individual needs are met timely, easily, and compassionately and everyone is treated with dignity and respect without judgement.”
Rainier Health Network expanded community-based care coordination to Kitsap County. Through a connection made by OCH, they are partnering with the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties to encourage greater use of evidence-based programs supporting chronic disease management.
Eagles Wings Coordinated Care continued hosting process groups for residents in recovery; fostering their mission, “community serving community”. They continue remodeling a transitional house for people in recovery and anticipate welcoming community members in the home by April 2023.
Serenity House of Clallam County partnered with Clallam County Health and Human Services, Olympic Medical Center, and Olympic Peninsula Community Clinic to launch a two-year medical respite pilot in November 2022. During the pilot period, medical respite will be provided at the shelter with plans to evaluate the need for another location. This pilot is an opportunity for people who are experiencing homelessness to safely recover and be discharged from hospital.
OCH is grateful for the many regional partners committed to collaboratively foster a healthier, more equitable three-county region. We believe the best approach to fostering health is to look to the community—elevate voices of those most impacted, maximize local strengths through collaboration, and incentivize creative solutions.