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Natural Communities of Care | March 2021 Convenings

Olympic Community of Health (OCH) recently brought together partners, those who live, learn, work, and play in the Olympic region, to provide opportunities for shared learning and collaboration. OCH hosted three learning collaboratives, one for each county (Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap). Each learning collaborative presented opportunities for networking, discussion of COVID-19 and equity, and local community-clinical linkage projects. Download the presentations from each event (Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties).

Overview of attendance

County Commissioner Updates

Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias Commissioner Ozias shared that more than 30% of Clallam County community member have received their first vaccination and more than 18% are fully vaccinated. He expressed that he is working with the Washington Association of Counties to improve communication and problem solving in an integrated managed care world.

Jefferson County Commissioner Greg Brotherton

Commissioner Brotherton emphasized the strength and impact of collaborative health solutions. He also stated that “crisis costs more than prevention” and that this is an opportunity to think creatively and invest in primary prevention. He understands and relates to the frustrations many are experiencing and collectively we can grow as a community.

Regional Successes

Clallam County

  • Port Angeles Community Paramedicine Program works with Jim's Pharmacy and Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County to safely and conveniently provide flu shots and COVID tests for homebound hospice patients.

  • On Giving Tuesday, Olympic Peninsula Healthy Communities Coalition (OPHCC) hand delivered jars to local behavioral health providers in Clallam. Jars included encouraging quotes and messages of inspiration and local gift cards.

  • The Hi•dasubač Program at Sophie Trettevick Indian Health Center coordinated with Neah Bay Schools and Makah Employment and Training to launch an online internship for Makah high school students.

Jefferson County

  • Jefferson County Public Health featured community members in their weekly campaign, #MaskUpMonday. This campaign shared local perspectives regarding the question "why do you wear a mask?"

  • Discovery Behavioral Healthcare’s client no show rates have dropped to 14-16%​

  • Olympic Community Action Programs set up a study library in a conference room and hired tutors to support local high school students in need of a quiet place to study and use the internet.

Kitsap County

  • Kitsap Medical Group and Kitsap Children’s Clinic each implemented new social determinants of health screening tools for patients and created resource tools to connect patients with appropriate community resources.​

  • YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties continued to offer evidence-based programs such as the Diabetes Prevention Program and the Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program virtually during COVID-19 to meet the referral opportunities and community need.

  • Kitsap Recovery Center continues to expand services. They added programs for employment assistance, meditation, equine therapy, and a drum circle.

  • Mare than 50% of Olympic Area Agency on Aging's staff have participated in trauma-informed care trainings.

Equity and COVID-19

Clallam County OCH engaged Clallam County participants through several breakout rooms to discuss the current needs for COVID-19 recovery, successful efforts and approaches to equity, and how the Olympic region can collaborate and improve moving forward. The need for behavioral health support in schools and in the community is of high need, as well as housing support. Participants expressed hope that vaccinations can support a transition to a new normal. Many suggestions for collaboration within the region such as providing incentives to reduce vaccine hesitancy, and providing childcare at vaccination sites, and coordinating with community paramedics to distribute single dose COVID-19 vaccines to hard to reach community members. Access slides here.

Jefferson County: Cherish Cronmiller, Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) Cherish discussed COVID-19 vaccinations and equity as across Washington State and national trends. There are several rural challenges such as transportation to vaccine distribution sites, broadband and technology access, outreach to non-English speaking community members or individuals experiencing homeless. This opened the conversation of who is getting vaccinated and what we can do as a community to reach everyone. Access slides here.

Kitsap County: Siri Kushner, Kitsap Public Health District (KPHD)

Siri shared a data update regarding COVID-19 vaccines and equity in Kitsap County. KPHD's goal is to better prioritize communities most impacted by COVID-19, such as people experiencing high risks of exposure due to access barriers, living situation, age and severe illness, systemic inequalities, and racism. As of February 4, 14.96% of Kitsap County residents have initial COVID-19 vaccinations with 7.04% fully vaccinated. Statewide, the numbers are 13.35% and 6.46%, respectively. KPHD strives to create easy pathways for community members to obtain the vaccine by implementing a simple registration process, ensuring diversity in appointment times and days, addressing transportation and language barriers. Access slides here.

Community-Clinical Linkages

Community-clinical linkages (CCL) are defined as connections between community and clinical sectors to improve individual and population health. CCLs are the intersection between physical and behavioral health, community-based organizations, and local health jurisdictions. This year OCH provided an opportunity for contracted partners to develop project proposals focused on connecting partners to better address social needs. OCH received 25 project proposals, and within those projects there are over 70 connections are being made across the Olympic region.

Access the project summary chart and network map to learn more about CCL proposals.

At each NCC event, OCH invited a partner to share a bit more about their CCL project.

Peer Learning

  • Shannon Re shared about Kitsap Children's Clinic's partnership with Catholic Community Services to integrate behavioral health into services. Kitsap Children's Clinic initially connected with Catholic Community Services at a past NCC event and have built a strong relationship over the years.

  • Jody Moss shared about Olympic Area Agency on Aging's social isolation survey and process to connect volunteers with elderly community members for regular phone calls. Learn more.

  • Joe Reis shared about Peninsula Behavioral Health's community resource guide for the local jail. Access draft community resource guide here (guide is not yet final, but can serve as a helpful template).

All three discussions highlighted communication strategies and solutions when cultivating cross-sector and cross-community partnerships. OCH has compiled a list of communications and marketing resources that may be of use when communicating projects and programs with other partners and community members. Access communication guide here.

OCH is inspired by the collaborative energy that was fostered during these three convenings. Partners across the Olympic region are collaborating and implementing innovative health projects. If you would like to learn more about any project or topic mentioned in this summary, please contact and we can help connect you with additional information.

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