PORTLAND, Ore. (July 14, 2017)—Just three months have passed since The Dalles was named one of three communities selected to be Oregon’s newest Blue Zones Project demonstration sites. In that time, the Blue Zones Project Oregon team has been busy with early initiative activities, such as conducting focus groups, assessing the ease of walking and biking in the area, recruiting volunteer leaders, and interviewing local staff candidates.
“The Blue Zones Project initiative is a community-led effort to help make healthy choices easier in the places where people spend most of their time,” said Aaron Patnode, Executive Director of Blue Zones Project Oregon. “To do that well, we spend the first several months learning, listening, and connecting. We make it a priority to collaborate with the people and organizations that are already working to make the community a great place to be.”
Learning About the Community
During the week of May 22nd, the Blue Zones Project Oregon team hosted 15 focus groups and 19 interviews with individual community members. All together, the team talked with more than 120 people who shared insights on what they love about their community, and what they would like to see change to better support health and well-being.
On June 18th, the team was back in The Dalles to assess opportunities that would enhance the built environment to better support natural movement and social connection. The team, joined by Dan Burden, Director of Inspiration and Innovation at Blue Zones LLC, and Samantha Thomas, Built Environment Manager at Blue Zones LLC, met with city planners and transportation experts, as well as local walking and biking advocates.
Finalists for the four local staff positions have been identified. Once the hiring process is complete, staff will begin work in early August. Additionally, Blue Zones Project is building the local governance for the initiative and has begun to recruit volunteers from the community to serve on the Steering and Sector Committees. The committee positions are expected to be filled by early August. Once selected, more than 50 community volunteers will work together with local staff to lead the initiative.
Later this summer, as part of the Blue Zones Project initiative, The Dalles will participate in the first of several annual surveys known as the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. The survey focuses on five elements of well-being: social, purpose, community, physical, and financial, and will serve as the baseline year-to-year measurement for the initiative.
In 2014, Cambia Health Foundation brought Blue Zones Project to Oregon in support of Oregon Healthiest State.
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About Blue Zones Project
Blue Zones Project® is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city’s environment, policy, and social networks. Established in 2010, Blue Zones Project is inspired by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author who identified five regions of the world—Blue Zones®—with the highest concentration of people living to 100 years or older. Blue Zones Project incorporates Buettner’s findings and works with cities to implement policies and programs that will move a community toward optimal health and well-being. Currently, 42 communities in nine states have joined Blue Zones Project, impacting more than 3.3 million Americans nationwide. The movement includes three beach cities in California; 15 cities in Iowa; Albert Lea, Minnesota; the city of Fort Worth; and communities in Southwest Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Blue Zones Project is a division of Sharecare. For more information, visit bluezonesproject.com.
Sharecare is the digital health company that helps people manage all their health in one place. The Sharecare platform provides each person—no matter where they are in their health journey—with a comprehensive and personalized health profile, where they can dynamically and easily connect to the information, evidence-based programs, and health professionals they need to live their healthiest, happiest, and most productive life. With award-winning and innovative frictionless technologies, scientifically validated clinical protocols, and best-in-class coaching tools, Sharecare helps providers, employers, and health care plans effectively scale outcomes-based health and wellness solutions across their entire populations. To learn more, visit www.sharecare.com.
About Cambia Health Foundation
Based in Portland, Ore., Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience health care. Cambia Health Foundation is a 501(c)(3) grant-making organization that strategically invests in and partners with organizations regionally and nationally to advance palliative care quality, access and understanding; improve the mental and behavioral health of underserved children; and transform health care to a more person-focused and economically sustainable system. Learn more at cambiahealthfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter.
About Oregon Healthiest State
Oregon Healthiest State is a privately led, publicly supported partnership to assist Oregon communities in achieving better health outcomes. More than 70 percent of our health is influenced by our behaviors and surroundings, while just 30 percent is influenced by genetics and access to health care. That 70 percent is where Oregon Healthiest State focuses its attention. This cross-sector, statewide movement addresses health and well-being on all levels—physical, mental, emotional, social, financial, and sense of purpose. Oregon Healthiest State will work statewide through initiatives that align allies and resources to take on the state’s most pressing health issues; and at the local level through programs to help communities make healthy options abundant for everyone. Oregon Healthiest State’s goal is that by 2020, Oregonians are healthy, health equity increases, and Oregon is the healthiest state. For more information, visit ORhealthieststate.org