Was The RiseVT Update Well Received in Montpelier?

Yes! The RiseVT team presented an update in January to the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB), the regulatory body which approved both the grant funding and the hospital operational funding which fuel RiseVT. It was wonderful to hear words like “impressive” and “inspiring” and “innovative” within the reactions from these officials who are playing a crucial role in regulating and transforming Vermont’s health care system.

Judy Ashley, the St. Albans’ District Director of the Vermont Department of Health (who co-chairs the Community Committee on Healthy Lifestyles which oversees RiseVT) opened the presentation to the GMCB by explaining its RiseVT’s foundation in best practice. Research shows that long term, evidence-based prevention approaches like the RiseVT campaign help improve a community’s overall health and that ultimately reduces healthcare costs. This makes the progress within RiseVT all the more exciting!

Dorey Demers, the RiseVT Coordinator, provided an energetic overview of RiseVT’s activities in its first seven months – an overview which began with GMCB Chairman Al Gobeille taking a turn on the RiseVT smoothie bike! Dorey shared that more than 5,400 individuals have already connected with RiseVT – that is approximately 10% of our population in northwestern Vermont. We are seeing individuals who are being more physically active and making healthier food choices. Many are getting their families involved and a growing number are taking advantage of the free Health Coaching resource through RiseVT. To help ensure individuals are surrounded by a culture that supports their efforts to make healthier choices, RiseVT is also working with 44 businesses, 15 schools, and 9 municipalities. These collaborations have resulted in policy and infrastructure changes such as becoming smoke-free, establishing safe routes to school, boosting access to recreational opportunities, adding sidewalks, facilitating healthier eating, and establishing or strengthening worksite wellness programs. At the same time, RiseVT is reaching out to our most vulnerable populations by being present at the Agency of Human Services on a monthly basis and integrating into other community resources, including Martha’s Kitchen and the Champlain Valley Office of Equal Opportunity. RiseVT is extending its reach by collaborating with the public libraries and school nurses throughout our region! Our northwestern Vermont community is truly on the rise!

This initial momentum drew praise from GMCB member Con Hogan. He drew upon his experience as the former Director of the Agency of Human Services and explained that research shows that if you can achieve initial momentum within 15% to 17% percent of a population, “the middle will come” and that is how you reach a large population. He congratulated RiseVT on its early reach and encouraged us to keep going, while not spreading resources too thin too fast. GMCB member Jessica Holmes said, “You have an amazing model here.” GMCB member Dr. Alan Ramsey said, “This is high value work.” We sincerely appreciate their continued interest in RiseVT, as it represents an investment in prevention which they have helped make possible.

Have you connected with RiseVT yet? Visit us online at www.RiseVT.com or connect with us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram. Take the RiseVT pledge to try and be a little bit healthier. To get ideas of where to begin, fill out a scorecard on our website. It quickly walks you through some fun questions and gives you a score of where your habits stand right not. It will give you some hints of how you might take the next step on your path to feeling better and having more energy – and it allows you to connect with a RiseVT Health Coach for help and encouragement. This is personal healthcare reform in action. This is all of us, as a community, coming together for better health. The energy in this community campaign is amazing. The stories we hear from participants are inspiring and rewarding. We are making a difference one person, one business, one school, one community at a time. Join us now and watch for RiseVT at events throughout Franklin and Grand Isle communities! I am on this journey to live a little healthier with you.

— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC Chief Executive Officer