In January 2017, health care and civic institutions convened groups of people and organizations to share ideas and feedback on how to improve health. Cooperation on a scale equal to these challenges is needed as initiatives offered by one institution or focused on one disease do not address the underlying causes of poor health.
Nearly 120 individuals and 50 organizations started to more systematically identify the obstacles and challenges to health, and a Planning Committee, with seats allocated to neighborhood representatives, government, non-profits, and health care institutions, was formed.
On February 28, 2018, West Side United (WSU) was officially launched and plans were shared on how to improve health in West Side communities.
One year later and moving forward
At the February 28 gathering, members of the West Side community worked together to give feedback on the vision shared by WSU.
The following is a list of feedback and ideas received at the event:
- The majority of all feedback focused on the overall ability of WSU to communicate with and to various stakeholders, and establish and maintain both internal and external accountability form the following:
- West Side United to the community
- The community to West Side United
- Goal setting inclusive of community needs
- Another principal piece of feedback addressed certain groups of people or other actors within the community that WSU needs to either maintain or establish engagement with, such as the following:
- Community-based organizations
- Faith-based leadership
- Homeless families and uindividuals
- Justice-involved youth and adults
- Many responses regarding specific subject matter fell under the umbrella of “capacity building.” These ideas revolved around dedicating resources to underserved populations, enhancing capabilities of institutions already in the community, and otherwise providing tools to boost what is already occurring within the community, such as:
- Workforce and business development training
- Mental health care
- Criminal justice system populations