Community Engagement Team Update
By Catherine Lewis, Director of Community Based Initiatives
MILLENNIUM EIGHT COUNTY COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PLAN SUBMITTED TO NEW YORK STATE
Provides Road Map for Value-adding ‘Action in Motion’
The Millennium Community Engagement Team has just completed a major milestone – the eight-county Community Engagement Plan. Before receiving Board of Managers’ approval, the Plan was vetted by the Community Based Organization (CBO) Task Force representing the eight-county region of Western New York.
The CBO Task Force is charged with 1) engaging key CBO stakeholders throughout the entire five-year DSRIP initiative; 2) assisting in the ongoing development and implementation of a multi-year plan to provide two-way communication and engagement with public, community groups, and provider organizations; and 3) ensuring ongoing CBO involvement in the implementation and operation of all DSRIP projects.
What is most remarkable is that we all recognized that the Plan is a living document requiring updates and action, not just a call to action, but action in motion. So, our next steps involve operationalizing the Plan to its fullest over the next four years.
Millennium’s community engagement partnership began in 2015 with Greater Buffalo United Ministries (GRUM), a network of 58 churches, and the University at Buffalo School of Nursing to carry out the Million Hearts national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Blood pressure screenings; nutrition education; and connections to 1) health insurance for the uninsured 2) primary care doctor where one does not exist and 3) assist with scheduling an appointment when a primary care doctor has not been seen in two years.
Millennium’s eight-county engagement activities include, but are not limited to:
1) Faith-Based Organizations such as GRUM, a network of 58 churches
2) Law Enforcement – a partnership with community police officers
3) Housing Providers – such as Buffalo and Niagara Falls Municipal Housing Authority
4) The WNY Homeless Alliance
5) County Mental Health Departments
6) County Departments of Health
7) County Departments of Social Services
The role of Millennium’s Community Engagement Team is to identify and evaluate PPS projects that require community engagement. The team will continue to work with the CBO Task Force to prioritize and schedule proposed events to meet and address project milestones and community needs across the eight counties of WNY.
The overarching goal is “empowerment” -enabling communities to increase control over their lives. Millennium will continue to offer tools and resources while building relationships to allow the community the knowledge to act within their own interest. Millennium’s role and that of partnering stakeholders will require all “hands on deck” and “boots on the ground” as long term commitment is being built to last or sustained beyond the five years identified for DSRIP. It is through Millennium’s partners and relationships within the communities that sustainability is built to last.