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January 23, 2015

County establishes health advisory panel

MOUNT VERNON – In an era of dramatic changes in U.S. health care, Skagit County Commissioners have established a new, 23-member health advisory panel.

The commissioners, whose responsibilities include deliberations as the Skagit County Board of Health, have embarked on an examination of the scope and delivery of local public health services. That effort will unfold over a period of months, but an initial action deemed vital to the process was the establishment of a “Population Health Trust Advisory Committee” made up of volunteers.

The purpose of the Trust is to provide “a permanent ongoing forum and structure to assess, plan and provide strategies and direction on how to improve the population health in Skagit County.”
The Trust, which meets for the first time on February 5, will partner in development of a “Community Health Plan” that includes strategies to meet local needs. Members range from hospital administrators to educators, pharmacist to tribal representative.

“Key stakeholders agree there is an urgent need for a coordinated approach among health care providers, jurisdictions and advocates of community health,” said Commission Board Chairman Ken Dahlstedt. “We look forward to working with this advisory team as we meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

The Trust and its members will be officially authorized in a Skagit County resolution on Tuesday, January 27. Trust members include: Margaret Rojas, North Sound Mental Health Administration; Charlie Wend, Chief of Corrections, Skagit County Corrections; Tom Keegan, Skagit Valley College; Mark Raaka, Skagit County EMS; Terry Belcoe, North Coast Credit Union; Liz McNett-Crowl, Skagit Regional Health; Debra Lancaster, United Way of Skagit County; Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health; Diane Smith, WSU Extension; Carol Hawk, United General Hospital; Duncan West, Medical Information Network/North Sound; Tina Willett, Mira Vista; Katie Stanford, NW Regional Council; Vince Oliver, Island Hospital; Jim Barnhart, Peace Health; Connie Davis, Skagit Regional Health; Jennifer Sass-Walton, Skagit County Child & Family Health; Bill Henkel, Community Action; Stephanie Morgareidge, Community Action/East County; Jenna Strand, Samish Indian Nation; Andrea Doll, West Skagit County; Randy Elde, Hilltop Pharmacy; Kari Ranten, Skagit Regional Health.

The inaugural Trust meeting is February 5, 9 a.m. – noon at the Northwest Career and Technical Academy at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon.

For more information regarding the advisory group, contact: Jennifer Johnson, Director, Skagit County Public Health and Community Services (SCPHCS): 419-3432 or jenniferj@co.skagit.wa.us or Lead Staff David Jefferson, Skagit County Community Health Analyst: davidj@co.skagit.wa.us.

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Jennifer Johnson, Director, Skagit County Public Health and Community Services
(360) 419-3432