‘Creating a healthier community’

<p>Linda Watson, right, Grant County coordinator of the new Community Health Improvement Partnership, chats with people during the June 15 Grant County Health Fair. Through CHIP, which has been successful in other counties of Oregon, Watson will strive to improve health care needs in Grant County.</p>

JOHN DAY – A new health program, Community Health Improvement Partnership, has been launched in Grant County, with Linda Watson as coordinator of the program.

As CHIP coordinator, Watson will facilitate a broad-based partnership of people from all over Grant County, to be involved in, and improve, health care needs for the general community.

“It’s an opportunity to have a voice, identify health care needs of local residents and work together to meet those needs,” she added.

The program is a partnership between Blue Mountain Hospital and the Office of Rural Health.

Six goals are at the core of the program:

• Improve the health status of Grant County residents.

• Involve as many people as possible in the decision-making process.

• Expand awareness of the health system’s resources.

• Develop new, local leadership.

• Support the creation of projects and programs to community needs.

• Educate residents about health care’s role in economic development.

According to Watson, the CHIP project has been successful in other counties throughout Oregon, as communities identify and meet needs related to healthy living and local available health care services.

“Everyone in the community has something to contribute to the discussion of local health care,” she said.

Watson comes to her new position after 24 years working for Grant School District No. 3.

Her first public stint as CHIP coordinator was manning an informational table at the June 15 Grant County Health Fair. She said she’s happy to be part of a project that can have such a positive effect on everyone in Grant County.

“When you consider the people who live here, you see a people who care about people.”

The Grant County CHIP office is located in the JO Plaza in John Day. For more information, contact Watson at 541-575-0873, or by email, lwatson@bluemountainhospital.org.

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