More @ mcw.edu Barron County Program succeeds through many partners

Building wellness in Barron County

Working together, the Medical College of Wisconsin and community partners are addressing leading health risks in children, adults and the elderly. MCW faculty and staff are collaborating with more than 350 diverse community groups to create healthier communities.

Children participate in the Healthy Active Youth Program, which is administered by Be Well Barron County in collaboration with the Boys and  Girls Club of Barron County. Leading the children are Rebecca Volk (right), Grant Administrator for Be Well Barron County, and Deanna Aubart, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Children participate in the Healthy Active Youth Program, which is administered by Be Well Barron County in collaboration with the Boys and  Girls Club of Barron County. Leading the children are Rebecca Volk (right), Grant Administrator for Be Well Barron County, and Deanna Aubart, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs.

A collaborative effort by the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and dozens of partners in Barron County in northwestern Wisconsin is working to increase healthy eating and physical activity. Their efforts aim to decrease obesity and obesity-related health issues, including high blood pressure,
diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

“Healthy Families, Healthy Communities Barron County”– known locally as “Be Well Barron County” – was launched through funding from the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program (HWPP). It grew out of the successful “Healthier Cumberland Coalition”, an earlier HWPP effort focused on improving wellness in the rural Barron County community of Cumberland, which saw enormous community success. The current project includes four methods of intervention: education, worksite wellness strategies, health care initiatives and community outreach.

Recent surveys found 77% of adult males and 59% of adult females in Barron County are overweight or obese. In the Cumberland School District, 23% of students were found to be obese.

“It doesn’t work to just tell people to lose weight; you have to motivate them and create positive behavior changes,” said Rebecca Volk, Be Well Barron County Grant Administrator. “One of our most successful initiatives has been working with Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, which has
integrated motivational interviewing techniques into its nursing curriculum. Motivational interviewing teaches students how to motivate patients towards positive behavior changes.”

Other interventions include: an extensive worksite wellness program with Lakeview Medical Center; healthier menu options at restaurants; nutritious recipe cards in grocery stores; community interactions at health events; school wellness interventions; free health coaching; community-wide health
challenges; and creation of resource guides including a Barron County physical activity guide.

Jane Morley Kotchen, MD, MPH, who is the primary academic partner of the project, said the rural aspect has been the greatest challenge, pointing to Barron County’s small, scattered population and widespread resources. “But the program is organized to utilize and strengthen institutions and
relationships already in place and important to residents,” Dr. Kotchen said. “And participating institutions have really taken ownership of many of these interventions so that they will continue long after current grant funding ends.”

The primary community partner is Char Mlejnek, Lakeview Medical Center Health Promotions Manager. Thomas Chelius, MS, is the project’s other academic partner. More than 50 organizations and institutions are contributing to the program’s success. (See the full list at mcw.edu/barroncounty.)
 


Dr. Kotchen is Professor of Medicine in General Internal Medicine, Director of the Master of Science Degree Program in Clinical and Translational Science, and Director of the Educational Key Function in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin. Chelius is a biostatistician and Coordinator of the Epidemiology Data Resource Center in MCW’s Institute for Health and Society.

 

Barron County program succeeds through many partners

The Healthy Families, Healthy Communities Barron County program, known locally as Be Well Barron County, was launched through funding from the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment.

The program’s success is made possible through the participation of dozens of partners in Barron County. These partners include:

Primary Community Partners:   Rebecca Volk, Be Well Barron County Grant Administrator; Judy Demers, Brown County Department of Health and Human Services; and Laura Johnson, past Be Well Barron County Grant Coordinator. 

Primary Academic Partners - Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW):   Jane Morley Kotchen, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine in General Internal Medicine, and Thomas Chelius, MS, Biostatistician and Coordinator of the Epidemiology Data Resource Center in MCW’s Institute for Health and Society. 

  • Healthcare systems:  Mayo Clinic, Cumberland Healthcare and Marshfield Clinic
  • Barron County Government Center
  • Safe & Stable Families Coalition
  • Healthier Cumberland Coalition
  • Barron County Grocery Stores
  • Barron County Restaurants
  • WJMC Radio
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County
  • Barron County School Districts
  • Barron County Faith Based Communities
  • THRIVE Barron County
  • Char Mlejnek, Lakeview Medical Center
  • Adam Cabrera, Boys  & Girls Clubs of Barron County
  • Pat Blackaller, Rice Lake Area School District
  • Barry Rose, Cumberland School District
  • Clare Janty, Mayo Clinic Health System, PA and Life Coach
  • Jamie Wickstrom, Cumberland Healthcare and the Healthier Cumberland Coalition
  • Jeanette Olsen and Mary Jean Jorgenson, Healthier Cumberland Coalition
  • Karen Chilson, CESA #11
  • Leslie Fijalkiewicz, Aging and Disability Resource Center
  • Trisha Bailkey, Barron County Aging and Disability Resource Center
  • Kaye Thompson and Laura Sauve, Barron County Public Health
  • Marla Prytz and Nichole Thompson, WIC/Public Health Dieticians
  • Mary Pardee and Michelle Jensen, UW Extension
  • Sarah Turner, Safe & Stable Families Coalition
  • Chris Fitzgerald, Barron County Sheriff’s Department and Safe & Stable Families Coalition
  • Kaela Wickersham, Safe & Stable Families Coalition
  • Kelli Engen, Barron County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Angie Buckley, Barron Area Community Center
  • Karen Lettner and Nichole Kohel, Barron Area School District
  • Chad Thompson, Rice Lake Police Department
  • Char Oftedahl, Aging and Disability Resource Center
  • Craig Broeren, Patrick Olson, Molly Pedersteun and Jessica Miller, Prairie Farm School District
  • Deanna Aubart, Kelly Ryder, Sarah Baye, Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County
  • Diane Weber, Kinship of Chetek
  • Melinda Pedersen, Kinship of Cameron & Rice Lake
  • Donna Cordes and Frank Chiodi, Elected Officials
  • Jenny Jorgenson, Mayo Clinic Health System
  • Jessica Ebner and Jenny Jensen, Rice Lake School District
  • Ted Lewis, Monika Audette, Trina Woiak and Christy Madison, Barron County Restorative Justice             Programs
  • Rev. Karen Johnson, Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Dane Jensen, Koser Radio Network
  • Stephanie Thompson, Benjamin’s House Homeless Shelter
  • Rice Lake Area Free Clinic
  • Sandy Mathieu, Ann Matheny and Pat Rausch, Heart Island Family Enrichment Center
  • Tammy Will (School Age Parent Program), Jamie Heldt (Head Start), CESA #11
  • Vicki Ondell, Volunteer Services of Barron County
  • Wendy Hoffman, Cumberland School District
  • Kathy Riemer, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College /UW Barron County
  • Heidi Verhulst, Community Referral Agency
  • Kristy Moran, Barron County Department of Health and Human Resources

 

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