Featured Articles: Quality Improvement

Transforming Communities through Partnership: Invest Health Initiative in Nampa, ID

Tuesday, July 18, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Bethany Gadzinski

Bethany Gadzinski, Director of Quality Improvement, Terry Reily Health Services



In 2016, the city of Nampa was selected by Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to take part in the new Invest Health initiative. Invest Health is aimed at transforming how leaders from mid-size American cities work together to help low-income communities thrive, with specific attention to community features that drive health such as access to safe and affordable housing, places to play and exercise, and quality jobs. 

Since its inception Terry Reilly Health Services has been a member of the core team which also includes:

  • Clint Child, vice president of patient care services at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Nampa
  • Jean Mutchie, St. Lukes Hospital Nampa
  • Karla Reynolds, Principle of Snake River Elementary School
  • Karla Nelson, community planner at the city of Nampa

Nampa was selected from more than 180 teams from 170 communities that applied to the initiative. Cities with populations between 50,000 and 400,000 were asked to form five-member teams including representatives from the public sector, community development, and an anchor institution, preferably academic or health-related.

The Nampa Invest Health team, along with a committed group of residents in the North Nampa area, have been building on existing work in the community to address health disparities in Nampa’s lowest income neighborhoods. The team has been working with neighborhoods and community leaders to strengthen partnerships, determine needs, and improve health.

North Central Nampa, the Northside, is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the region with almost half of residents identifying as Hispanic or Latino. Terry Reilly Health Services began serving this area of Nampa in 1971 and we continue to have an integrated medical and behavioral health clinic in this neighborhood along with our administrative offices. Northside residents face some of the greatest health disparities in Nampa and the Treasure Valley, an area that includes the nearby cities of Boise, Meridian, and Caldwell, Idaho. Families in this neighborhood have the highest percentage of deep poverty and are one of three census tracts in the Treasure Valley with concentrated persistent poverty for at least 30 years. Poverty and a lack of access to resources undoubtedly contributes to poor health outcomes including the second highest rate of diabetes and the second highest reporting of poor health in the Treasure Valley.

The following projects are being actively pursued by the Nampa Invest Health team and the broader community to improve opportunities for Northside residents:
  • Healthy Food Prescription Program – Led by Terry Reilly and St. Lukes, this healthy food prescription program will allow clinicians to prescribe healthy food to people who suffer from or are at risk of diet-related diseases. Participants receive education related to health, diet, and nutrition and then receive a prescription/ voucher to spend on fruits and vegetables at an on-site farm stand, mobile market, participating farmer’s market or other participating food provider. The mobile market could set-up at participating health clinics or hospitals. Food prescription programs provide an entrance point for medical providers to talk with patients about nutrition and food insecurity, along with actual support for families to buy healthy food.
  • Community Gardens – Led by Snake River Elementary, St. Alphonsus and Terry Reilly, this effort concentrates on utilizing vacant lots in the neighborhood or land near Snake River Elementary and Boys and Girls Club to develop community gardens. Working with schools, Boys and Girls Club, CWI and residents to maintain the gardens. This project will make produce available to community residents through the mobile food pantry and at area shelters/ service providers. 15th Avenue Community Garden in Nampa is the model that will be replicated in North Central Nampa.

Other projects being worked on include bringing a local grocer back into the North Nampa Neighborhood, increasing public transportation into and out of this neighborhood, fixing the sidewalks in the neighborhood, and developing a greenbelt along the canal that runs through this neighborhood.

“Terry Reilly and the Nampa Invest Health team brings together key community leaders from organizations that have the unique ability to collectively address multiple determinants of health including education, affordable housing, the built environment and primary health care.  Terry Reilly feels privileged to participate in this meaningful and much needed work in a neighborhood we have been serving for over 45 years” Terry Reilly CEO Heidi Hart said.

For further information on this project and the work Terry Reilly Health Services is doing in Southwest Idaho, please contact Tami Fife, COO at Tfife@trhs.org.


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