By declaring 2016 the “Year of Wellness” and establishing a wellness task force, Tillamook County leaders inspired organizations to come together to tackle the leading health concerns. These concerns include high rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental illness, food insecurity, housing, and poverty. Since 2016, the momentum grew and the Year of Wellness has become the coalition.
Dusti Linnell, an assistant professor of practice in OSU Extension’s Family and Community Health program, co-developed and implemented a five-part workshop series for the Tillamook County Wellness task force to select a priority issue or action. She and other OSU Extension staff played key roles in this work as members of the coalition’s leadership team, task force and committees.
The process resulted in the identification of a goal to reduce the percentage of people who are at risk for Type 2 diabetes by 2027, to be accomplished by addressing focused areas for action. The coalition brought in nationally recognized experts to help local organizations learn about diabetes and effective approaches to reduce the risk and apply them to the focus areas. Future steps include strategic planning, evaluation of strategies to measure short- and long-term impacts of the program, and resource development.
The Tillamook County Wellness Initiative has achieved national and state recognition for its work. The National Association of Counties recognized the initiative with a 2019 achievement award, which honors innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. The initiative was honored with the 2018 Oregon Place Matters Conference Organizational Leadership Award by the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division, with a special citation for OSU Extension’s leadership efforts.