Community Providers Network Plans for the Future
Dynamic Group Initiates Community-Wide Discussion on Health and Wellness
New Britain, Conn., April 20, 2017 – The notion of bringing together diverse stakeholders to tackle community-wide challenges that can’t necessarily be effectively addressed by a single entity alone is not new. There are scores of success stories in communities nationwide, examples of pooled expertise, resources and long-range planning efforts yielding remarkable improvements in community vitality and quality of life.
The latest such local effort, the Greater New Britain Community Providers Network, has begun to take shape. The group, convened by the Hospital of Central Connecticut, Hospital for Special Care and Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, met this week for the second time to explore ways that diverse community-based organizations, health and human service providers, the local business community, government and other stakeholders can work together to improve how health and human services are designed and delivered in the future.
The ultimate goal is to build a stronger, healthier community offering an improved quality of life for all.
“The beauty of a group like this is that we are all bringing very different and very important perspectives to the table,” said Lynn Faria, community relations director for the Hospital of Central Connecticut and Hartford Healthcare’s Central Region. “Having this discussion together, talking about how to move forward…this is a great opportunity for us as a group and for our communities.”
More than 25 representatives of local and regional organizations attended this week’s meeting, with diversity of services and perspective being the theme. Stakeholders represented ranged from the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut to Foodshare to the Central Connecticut Health District to the Coalition for New Britain’s Youth. Despite wide differences in the focus of each, there was a shared understanding that every stakeholder plays a vital role in shaping the future health of the community at large.
The focus of this week’s meeting was a new program called Invest Health New Britain. New Britain is one of 50 cities in the country being funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Reinvestment Fund to bring community leaders together to develop new strategies to fund and accelerate improvements in neighborhoods facing barriers to better health.
The goal of Invest Health New Britain, according to Robin Sharp, Executive Director of the YWCA New Britain and an Invest Health New Britain team member, is to leverage current momentum and funding opportunities related to transit-oriented development in New Britain’s central district to improve health outcomes for city youth, including reductions in obesity, depression and births to teen mothers.
“How does transit-oriented development impact health?” asked Sharp. “When you make cities more walkable, when you reduce pollution from driving, when you create socially-cohesive housing…these are all things that can impact health outcomes. We want to make sure that New Britain’s transit-oriented development is designed with green space, eliminates brownfields and improves access to healthy foods, safe activities, employment and education.
“This is our vision.”
Sharp emphasized that the responsibility for tackling such challenges involves the entire community.
“As the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says, health is the backbone of the community. If our kids aren’t healthy, they can’t learn, they can’t work,” she said. “We all stand to benefit from a healthier community and we need to address the inequities that exist.”
“We all touch on the health of our community in one way or another and we’re very fortunate in New Britain that there is so much good work happening,” added Faria. “It’s just a matter of how we connect the dots.”
The group plans to meet again next month to discuss the Invest Health New Britain initiative in more detail. To learn more, contact Joeline Wruck, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (860) 229-6018, ext. 307.
Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is “Where Good Begins” in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. The Foundation works to inspire philanthropy, manage permanent charitable assets effectively, and partner to address key community issues through strategic leadership. For more information, visit www.cfgnb.org.
The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) is a 414-bed, 32-bassinet acute care teaching hospital with two campuses, New Britain General and Bradley Memorial in Southington. A member of Hartford HealthCare, HOCC services include emergency services, inpatient medicine, surgery, laboratory, and radiology. Among specialty areas are cardiovascular care, metabolic health, obstetrics, oncology, orthopedics, and psychiatry/behavioral health. For more information, please visit www.thocc.org.
Hospital for Special Care, located in New Britain and Hartford, is one of the four largest, free-standing long-term acute care hospitals in the United States and the nation’s only long-term acute-care hospital serving adults and children. HSC is recognized for advanced care and rehabilitation in pulmonary care, acquired brain injury, medically-complex pediatrics, neuromuscular disorders (including ALS research), spinal cord injury, comprehensive heart failure and comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. For more information, visit www.hfsc.org.